I just spent 20mins on a game of The Librarian, a short game by Octavi Navarro. It really is very short, and uses simple 8-bit graphics. The MC is a librarian, who is woken up in the middle of the night by a creepy gust of wind, followed by the appearance of a mysterious owl with a note that says “There’s something wrong at the library.”
The librarian puts on her uniform and finds her way to the library.
The game consists of exploring and puzzle-solving. Clicking around to move the character; some objects can be picked up to be used later. At one point the former librarian is discovered. Who was the former librarian? How long has the body been there? Who sent the note? What is the end goal of the game?
The are no answers, only more exploration and using collected objects, this gameplay is not unfamiliar to anyone who has played a game. Nothing much goes on, but that makes it more interesting.
All of a sudden, I couldn’t click anymore and the game has finished. That really was very short. The Verge says:
the experience feels less like an adventure game, and more like the video game equivalent of a poem
One of the best known games of this genre of story-exploration-without-too-much-purpose is Gone Home, which tackles a somewhat controversial topic and yet winning Polygon’s 2013 game of the year. Both of these games are more like a visual version of a short novel rather than a computer game, and that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I thought The Libarian was pretty good, although to be fair I got it for the low, low price of free. Gone Home is US$14.99 and I don’t think that’s a right price point for me.
And, more packing. I made a start on Papa’s room, clearing the old desk and his desk. Keeping paperwork with me when we move, just like I packed the files in my filing cabinet to 4 office boxes.
For a bit of light relief, I’m playing geoguessr. It’s been around for a while. It’s a game that drops the player in a random location and the trick is to put a pin on the google map to as close to the actual location as possible. We can focus on a smaller area, like central london. There’s the blazingly obvious, like the London Eye above.
Or the obvious to Londoners, like the Odeon Shaftesbury Ave, which I’m surprised is still around.
There are really obscure building sites and residential streets. Luckily we can move around the map and sometimes street name signs are vaguely visible. If not the street name, it may be possible to deduce council. This pretty mews can be anywhere, but walking out to the main street and I could see Post Office Tower in the background so I can guess the approximate location.
Pretty fun game to take my mind off things for a few minutes.
I read about this new game in the app store called PUBG mobile. The reviews are very good, and lots of praises for the quality of a mobile game.
I’m not a prolific gamer. I play candy crush or farmhouse heroes. Sometimes I find a game I like I’ll play it a little more then I tend to lose interest. I’ve never paid any attention to shooting games, and this PUBG is just another shooting game. Or so I thought. It’s something called a battle royale game:
Each match drops 100 players into a vast, open map where they scrounge up gear and wage gun battles in an effort to be the last player or squad standing. A randomly selected “safe” zone pushes players into an ever-shrinking portion of the map, ensuring that matches end in a reasonable amount of time.
I don’t know what drove me to download it but I did. It’s pretty hard to see on the small iphone screen, I try to make do.
So I parachute onto an island:
I pick up weapons (the game automatically picks up items when I walk over them) and explore the island on my own in a solo game, or with teammates in a duo or squad game:
Other players shoot back and it’s a strategy of whether to go in guns blazing or be more cautious. I find when I play in squads I spend a lot of time figuring out where my teammates are and trying to follow them. Teammates are random people, since I don’t have any friends to play with. No idea who or where these random people are; or if they are real people. I usually go to a quiet place to loot then make my way to the circle. Sometimes I get killed by the playzone, I’ve had top 10s a few times. Not very successful in terms of winning.
Winners are given a chicken dinner. Dunno why, it’s kinda funny. This win was in a duo, my teammate and I drove up to the top of a hill in a buggy and there was shooting. Teammate was killed, I killed the killer. Then I retreated to behind the buggy to heal up. Just as I was drinking an energy drink, the chicken dinner screen popped up. The last person got killed by being outside the playzone.
Recently, an update gave more game features, including training, faster vehicles and arcade mode where 28 people play in a small playzone. Much faster pace and good practice. Each arcade game focuses on one type of weapon or there’s an all weapons mode too. I’ve played pistols only, melee which has no guns, sniper rifles etc.
The first few games in squad I got chicken dinners. Then it either got harder or I got worse. It’s still quite fun.
PUBG (pronounced pub-g, I didn’t know till I watched some youtube videos) is one of a bunch of similar survival shooting games. The others include Fortnite and Rules of Survival. Fortnite has a huge following, and has the most players. I can’t play the mobile version because it doesn’t support iphone 6, ah well. These games are free, and the in-game purchases are quite limited. Different clothing, or a loot box that gives a chance of different clothing. Considering clothes don’t matter in the game, it’s incredible that the games make millions. Must be something about clothes that I’m not getting.
Fortnite is more cartoon-y and allows players to build defensive forts. This spoof video makes fun of the difference. The effects are pretty cool and tongues are firmly planted in cheeks.
I also came across an article describing a ransomware that locks files unless the user plays PUBG. Huh? I think it’s PC only, and infected computers will show a message telling users to play PUBG for an hour. Security experts discovered that playing for 3mins will unlock the files. It feels like an April Fool’s joke.
Anyway, I play a handful of games occasionally. I’m still really bad at it, not having a lot of shooting game experience. I’m not sure how long my interest will hold.
My first EX raid invite! I don’t raid a lot though lately I’ve tried to make sure I get at least one of the legendaries. I had to look at the directions on the invite to see where the gym that I won the qualifying raid is located. Aha, it’s the park next to the market. Makes sense, it’s one of the gyms I’ve raided at most frequently. I think I even remember the exact raid that got me the invite.
So anyway, monday at 1pm isn’t a very user-friendly time. I feel sorry for people who need to go to work or school.
I finished lunch early and walked to the park. On the way there was a latias raid so I participated, but didn’t catch it.
I was at the gym around 12.45pm and I was pretty shocked to see there were like 80 people there already. Wow. I had no idea what to do, luckily I overheard someone talk about team yellow, and I asked if I could join. They kindly said yes. It was only when I looked around that I noticed people were standing in small groups by team colour. My Instinct team had 8 people. Almost all the people there seem to know each other! From snippets of conversation, these people play a lot more than me, and take it much more seriously. They talked about an unspoken rule about what time they should occupy gyms, I’m nowhere near that sophisticated.
When the raid started, we got into a private group and began fighting Mewtoo. Took him down really quickly. Now I see why teams are split by colours, we all got 11 balls.
I fed him a golden raspberry and threw an ordinary ball, not even nice. And then I got him. First ball. Everyone in my team seemed to have been successful, although one of the aunties asked the younger guy to throw for her, hahaha. Done, I was on my way to the market and the shuttlebus in 10mins.
It’s mareep community day!! After playing for a long time, I finally hatched 3 mareeps a few weeks ago, and had enough candy to evolve to flaafy. I’m looking forward to evolving ampharos.
For us the event ran from 11am to 2pm. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t cooperating, heavy rain and wind. We went to a nearby diner for late breakfast first. It took about 10-15mins before mareeps started appearing. At first we were toughing it out with the rain, then it got lighter and the sky brightened up again. We just stuck to mm’s local area that has a seafront and two parks. That was enough to catch lots of mareeps.
We allowed time to go home and evolve to ampharos to get the special moveset. I managed to get 3 shinies too, so I have one each shiny.
Good event. Rumour is next month is charmander. It’ll be great to get a charizard with special moveset. Oh, and shinies too.
It’s pokémongo community day #2 and it’s dratini this month. Good motivation:
increased dratini spawn
dragonite evolved during the window will get draco meteor moveset
3x stardust for all catches
I have over 500 ultraballs and around 60 pinaps in my bag (just because, not on purpose), so I was in good shape. I thought the event started at 12pm but when I went out at around 11.30am I saw a bunch of dratinis already. Of course it being niantic, there were problems galore: network error, error 2, error 22, error 26, no gps, and couldn’t login sometimes when I tried to restart the game. There were times after loading when no stops or pokémons could be seen. That went on for a good 1-2hrs, which was alright because I was at lunch.
Sometime around 2pm everything seemed to have gotten fixed. I went to central piers where there is a good 700-800m stretch facing the harbour where commuter ferries dock. Normally it’s already a great spot for dratinis and water-types and today it was a veritable bounty. I ended up using a couple of lucky eggs and basically walked up and down between pier 2 and pier 9 catching everything. Tons of stops, all lured and sometimes in one spot there’d be 6-7 dratini spawning one after another.
I saw on twitter that they knew there’s a problem and the event will be extended. In the end I was there for around 2hrs. I forgot to track my starting stats, rough numbers:
dratini caught: around 120
of which shiny: 5
evolved to dragonair: 1 shiny
evolved to dragonite: 1 shiny, 3 regular
stardust: no idea, but 120x100x3=36,000 and I caught others too
xp: no idea, I was at 3xx,xxx and now I’m at 448,000
Didn’t manage a 100% IV dragonite, the best is 98% IV which I’m really happy about. Threw away a lot of low IV dratinis, and the worst one I didn’t throw away is a shiny at 19% IV. I was using pokeassistant initially and got 18% but pokemeter and pokegenie both gave me 19%. It’s the absolute worst ever pokémon in my collection. Since it’s a shiny, and since it’s so terrible, I simply must keep it.
I also like the comments from pokemeter. “Your Dratini has an awful IV, but it’s happy!” Snerk.
This is a fun way of wasting a few minutes. An online word association game called Robot Mind Meld. Both human player and robot attempt to come up with the same word that associates with words each had already came up wth. The idea behind the Numberbatch AI is that it thinks quantitiatively about how words relate to each other by
analyzing millions of documents for patterns, these “numberbatches” now play a role in most programs that process language, from speech recognition to machine translation.
At first, I couldn’t get anywhere and got stuck after more than 10 rounds. But then bingo! We did it in 3 rounds.
I’m not that great with word associations because I either use very literal relationships or go off in a weird tangent. Some of the answers from the mefi users were odd and funny too. Some only took 2 rounds, someone took 79. I LOLed at this:
The correspondent at engadget talked about how hard it was to resist this kickstarter exclusive board game. Kickstarter exclusives are like small batch whiskies, they are available for a short period of time on kickstarter only, then will likely not be available forever. Most times, the reasons are that the products can’t be scaled up in the manufacturing process, they’re aimed at too niche an audience, or that the companies that make the products are too small to handle mass production. An example is a product that have a lot of hand-made, small components.
This board game the Wilson Wolfe Affair looks tremendous. It’s more than a board game, it’s a detective story-treasure hunt-puzzle game. The contents of the game is a big box of documents, newspaper clippings, other stuff, and a diary:
Each diary entry roughly corresponds to one main object in the package – and through reading the entry and examining the relevant objects you’ll see that there is a puzzle that needs to be solved. Upon finding the solution (perhaps a name, a date, an address, a lead), a little bit more of the story will be revealed to you. In this way, the game can be broken down into small stand-alone puzzles which can be tackled alone or by a group. And each puzzle solved will help you unravel the story, and solve the large overarching meta-puzzle; finding out exactly what happened.
The puzzles may be the object in the package, something to hunt for online, or…they’re not giving everything away. Sounds like a game to be played either alone or in a group, both ways sound like a lot of fun.
I think, yes, there’s a sense of FOMO with kickstarter exclusives, but the premise of the game is so refreshing, so intriguing that it’s worth getting without the exclusivity status.
The game starts at £59 for a 20-puzzle package and goes to £219 for a 50-puzzle package. And thanks to the engadget correspondent, I’m going to be £59 (+£20p&p) poorer. Ships in the summer. I think/hope it’s worth it.
Met sis, gis, my cousin and his kids for lunch at a sushi restaurant sis suggested. It used to be a conveyor belt restaurant, but now it’s a sushi train. We order via a tablet, the food is prepared in the kitchen and sent to us on a miniature train. We take the plate and push a button to send the empty train back. It’s very, very cool. Much better than conveyor belt because the food is fresher and we can actually pick what we want instead of sitting around hoping for something good to arrive. The kids loved it.
After lunch, sis had booked us all to go to an escape room game at a place called Lost. The coolness of the day continued. We played a game called Alcatraz, where we were split into 3 teams and locked in 3 cells: Red, Green & Blue. We had to work together, solve puzzles and escape from the cells. The puzzles, in retrospect, were pretty straightforward, but in the moment when everything was unknown and we were all trying to scream at each other, it felt more stressed. Plus there’s always the time limit–45mins. We all managed to escape our cells but ran out of time to solve the last puzzle to escape from the room itself. A huge amount of fun and something I’d do again in a heartbeat. The kids say it’s one of the best they’ve played.
Everyone had separate plans so I ended up sitting in a Mcdonalds for 2hrs drinking one small coke zero and reading on my ipad. This branch is pretty good, not very crowded. I was waiting for mm to finish to meet her to help her with shopping. Her family is having a gathering this weekend and doing a New Year’s version of Christmas Secret Santa. The budget is local$200, but the difficulty is the gift has to be suitable for her parents (in their 70s) as well as her nieces and nephew (teen and pre-teen). I gave her a magnetic noughts-and-crosses game I’d originally bought for my nieces and she got a box of nice biscuits and a bottle of sparkling grape juice. Under budget too.
We weren’t that hungry so dinner was just noodles. Went to HMV to have a beer and chat for a bit until time to go home.
the world has ended…somehow you have a magic refrigerator. This brilliant genius of an appliance holds a constant supply of salt, pepper, oil, flour and sugar — and four other foods.
PICK FOUR FOODS.
Assume there are cooking and storage facilities; and no need to worry about pesky things like nutrition and vitamins. The food has to be core ingredients, so no meatlover’s pizza or chicken curry with rice or beef wellington. And these are all the food you will eat for the rest of your existence.
The authors of the article asked their colleagues and on twitter and came up with a good selection, some are quite specific like sharp white cheddar:
whole chicken, spinach, bacon, vanilla ice cream
dark chocolate, avocados, eggs, tomatoes
eggs, apples, butternut squash, hot sauce
heirloom tomatoes, sharp white cheddar, pork belly, eggs
Sis says: rice, eggs, tomato, chocolate; my niece says: rice, eggs, cheese, chocolate; can’t quite remember what mm says but it’s something like: fish, eggs, beetroot, and one other, probably chocolate.
I’ve been thinking about this on and off. My choices:
eggs — it seems to be very popular with many people, because it’s so versatile and can be used for baking, cooking, frying. I’m going to cheat and say live chicken or duck, so I get meat, bones and eggs. Even at the cost of having to learn how to kill them. I mean, it’s the apocalypse, so I’ll have plenty of time. Personally I’ll go for duck because it’s tastier and I can get lots of duck fat, good with…
potatoes including sweet potatoes — this is supposed to be a good choice because if we had to survive on one single food forever, potato is one of the best. The leaves from the sweet potatoes will be my green veg element and takes the place of kale or savoy cabbage, which would have been my first choices for veg. I can use potatoes to make yeast and use it for bread and for fermentation. Imagine potato vodka, beer, and even wine because I’ll have…
grapes — not only wine, but I can make vinegar from it, that provides the essential acidic element for cooking. Many people choose lemons, but I think grapes have more potential. In addition to eating whole and making vinegar, they can be dried to get raisins, and frozen grapes are a delicious treat. Even though for some reason grape ice cream isn’t a thing, it is possibe in small batches, provided there is…
coconut — to make coconut milk which is supposed to be a great base for non-dairy ice cream. Originally I thought of picking milk for this spot, but most of what milk can do, coconut milk can do. With whole coconuts, there’s delicious coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil, and the flesh can be used as food or dried for seasoning and crunch. With vinegar made from the grapes, I should be able to make some sort of cheese-like curd or yogurt with the coconut milk
So all in all, I’m fairly happy with my choices. If duck+eggs isn’t allowed, I’ll go for just the duck and sacrifice eggs. If duck+eggs is allowed and I get additional spots, I’ll add prawn, avocado or cheese: proper cheese and not the iffy stuff I’ll get from coconut milk, grape vinegar and whatever else I conjure up.
Some games allow for one luxury item and people may pick steak, chocolate, or some other indulgence. It’s a no-brainer for me: whisky.
Last of the catch-up posts, I think. What I’ve been up to during the past 3 weeks.
I had a big bag of chestnuts that mm gave me. I wanted to roast them, peel then put in a braised chicken. But disaster happened! The chestnuts wouldn’t peel properly and stubbornly stuck to the shell. All I got was a big container of chestnut breadcrumbs.
Had to change plan, so made pumpkin and chestnut soup instead. The chestnut acted as perfect thickening agent, so the soup ended up quite thick. For liquid I made fresh turkey stock. Really, really nice. Served it with roti prata, which alas was store bought. Sprinkled on grated cheese.
We went for a drive one weekend, no real plans. Ended up at this oyster farm near the shenzhen border that has nice view of sunsets. Sunsets come early now, it starts getting dark at 5pm and full dark at 6pm. We brought picnic–mm brought an old bottle of macallan and some glasses which we sipped as we enjoyed the view. Only a small sip, since she’s driving.
We got chatting with a guy who had 2 tripods set up taking time lapse pictures. One was a Sony alpha 7 and the other was an iphone. He told us he just came back from Japan and he’s also been to a few other places to take timelapses of sunrises and sunsets. He collects the end results on his youtube channel. The timelapse here was at a place near where we were on that sunday.
A weekday evening out, met up for happy hour at frites. I started with trusty st bernadus abt 12, and then asked the assistant manager for a recommendation. He said to try the het kapittel watou prior, which is another trappist beer. Lighter that st bernadus, with chocolate tones. Nice alternative.
We weren’t that hungry, so we shared some miniburgers and a portion of frites.
Met mm after her saturday appointment. Originally we were supposed to meet at the novotel but when I got there I discovered that happy hour had been pushed back to 6-8pm, and it was quite busy. I walked around the area wanting to find an alternative and came across this place called muse wine bar and art gallery. It was located in the basement of a boutique hotel and pretty quiet. They had a big wine list of bottles and a smaller list of by-the-glass wines. Not only the usual, but 3-4 pages of both red and white wines. The price was higher, but the tradeoff was quality and tranquility.
On the walls were some ink art, I didn’t pay too much attention to the artist, but the artwork tied in with the quiet nature of the bar.
Next time we go there, I’ll order a bottle. Three glasses of wine came to around the same price as their cheapest bottle.
I stopped playing pokemon go. No incentive anymore, even with the last migration of legendary raids. I saw some people gathered around a gym while getting ready to get off the bus and didn’t bother running back like I would have before. The unfairness of raids, the stupid EX-raid invitations, the lack of pokemons other than commons, and I’m still bitter about no tauros, all contribute to my lethargy towards the game.
Some people have made the move to draconius go, which has all the features of pogo with fewer problems. Select a character and walk around to capture monsters. With names like Potty, these mythical creatures are cute as button, there are a total of 125 of them and they show up on a tracker at the bottom right of the screen. There are pillars of abundance (ie stops) where spinning grants random items that are useful in the game. Occasionally the adventuer gets attacked while walking, and has to battle the beast. Fighting can also be done in arenas (ie gyms). There are also many other features, refer to this useful beginner’s guide is on r/draconiusgo.
For some players, the playing experience is so much better, with more stops and creatures. For me, though, I stopped playing after a few tries. The two screenshots were taken from the same spot just down the road from where I live. The triangular area is the small local park. On the left, pogo with a gym and a bunch of stops. On the right, drago with…nothing. It’s the same picture everywhere else. The other disadvantage is my mobile provider isn’t counting data usage for pogo, they made a big deal when the game first came out and never took it away. So few people play now that it’s not worth them bothering with it. But with drago, I can’t imagine going out for hours and hours and eating into my mobile data allowance.
So, not playing either game. Not playing much else, just reading.
I’ve spent the past few days playing the old Ravenhearst game. I got the original ten years ago, when for a short while I subscribed to monthly games. I still have 4 credits leftover at big fish games so I redeemed a credit for the sequel. And then they had a sale so I got #3 and #4.
I like playing these hidden object games on the mba, not so much on the ipad. Not merely because the screen is bigger so the great graphics can be seen better. There are too many ads and restrictions for the ipad versions–they make you wait for hours or even a day to replenish lives, or give hints, or other in-game features. There are no distractions or in-game cash grab for the mac games. The only problem is the mba heats up like crazy with these flash games. I can ignore it, but I make myself stop and logout after a while.
The first Ravenhearst game is pretty simple: mostly hidden objects with a few puzzles and solving the crime by completing jigsaw puzzles. Straight-forward gameplay and the puzzles are interesting. I didn’t pay that much attention to the diary entries that are supposed to be central to solving the crime; just finding the objects and finishing the crime computer jigsaw puzzles moved the game forward. The only notes I had to make was to remember the location of various keys in the different rooms.
Ravenhearst #2, or Return to Ravenhearst, is more sophisticated. Still hidden objects, but the crime and puzzle-solving elements taking more centre stage. Lots of rooms and areas to explore, I almost had to draw a map to remember all the locations; I’d go down to a basement and there is an entire street with shops and, hey, a dark cave. It’s fun to explore, and the puzzles were varied and challenging. One of my favourite games.
I’ve just started #3, Escape from Ravenhearst. It’s very different and I’m not 100% liking it. The hidden object element is now morphing objects: there’s no list of objects to find, we have to identify random objects that change form. After a couple of scenes, I have the hang of it and find that they are on par with traditional hidden objects. What I have trouble with, is the story and gameplay. As in #2, there are lots of different locations, some hidden, and it’s part of the puzzle to open up a new area. The problem with #3 is, I’ve found myself finishing a puzzle and then I don’t know where to go or do next. No new areas, no new clues.
The second complaint is the puzzles, they are not obvious. With the previous games, I could sense what I need to do to solve the puzzle. With #3, I’d open up a scene and have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing. Give an example, in #2 there was a puzzle where I had to switch numbers on a dial so they were in the right order; there was also a whack-a-mole game and I figured out hitting red moles took away points. In #3, I zoomed into a dial that had 3 push levers and there’s nothing to tell me what I should be aiming to do. I’m also having to constantly write down notes of random numbers and letters I’m seeing, they aren’t stored in the casebook and there are no clues about where they may be used. Way, way too obscure. I don’t want to read through the walkthrough constantly, but that’s what I have been doing.
I’m only around halfway done with #3 and reading the reviews make me go ‘hmm’ because the storyline is dark. The locations include a creepy hospital, a horrible house and a mental institution. Not sunshine and flowers this one. There’s always been a supernatural element to the series but in addition to the macabre twist the ghosts who appear in #3 are not helpful, all they say are “don’t come here, you’re in danger!” Duh, yes. That’s why I’m playing the game, do they want me to hit the quit button? I’ll work on finishing it slowly.
I’ve been playing the google doodle cricket game a lot. The doodle celebrates the start of the ICC tournament. We play a cricket character, batting against the snail team. Good hits go for 6 and well placed shots at mid-off go for four. I haven’t been able to get close to a century though, my highest score is 42. And being a flash-like game, it makes my mba fan go crazy.
This arrived via email. So they will refund the cost of the ticket (and fees), give everyone $100 worth of pokécoins, and add a legendary lugia. In order to get the $20-plus refund, we have to fill in a form and wait till 1 September. The coins and lugia will be added to the account of everyone who checked in by scanning (or trying a thousand times to scan) the QR code. Let’s see how long it takes, they say 7 business days.
I’m so tired I can’t get the energy to go out to find an articuno raid. I have no idea if people are raiding and I don’t want to show up at a raid and see no one. I can only see what’s around me and I know there are very few people around. I know I’m missing out. After the disaster that was the go fest experience I’m becoming salty about the whole game.
I was quite looking forward to the pokémon go fest event in chicago, having been lucky enough to get a ticket. Niantic was advertising all sorts of fun events: raids, global catch challenges, legendaries and special pokémons. The trainers at go fest were supposed to lead the world in catch events that were to take place in 30-minute windows.
So I got on the 9.12am train, stopped by 7-eleven to get water, and made my way towards grant park.
And that began a day that can only be described as a complete fail.
The event was supposed to start at 10am. I got to the entrance around 10.15am to see a long queue stretching down columbus. Walked to the end of the line to see an enormous mass of people snaking around buckingham fountain. Snaking like an intricate maze. I joined the queue and it took more than 2 hours to get to the entrance. They had one entry point for 20,000 people. There was nothing to do, the app took forever to open or crashed when I was trying to do anything. Someone mentioned we walked 7km just queuing up, she either was able to keep the app open or had a fitbit.
Actually getting in was fast. Go through bag search then scan the wristband. Once inside, we were given an envelope that had a badge and a QR code. The idea was to spin at one of the official physical pokéstops and scan the QR code to get the event badge. Sounds easy enough? Ha! There was NO SIGNAL. If we could get in, the app crashed after a minute. It took mutiple tries to get the app open and 4 tries to get the QR code to scan and the badge to show up. It wasn’t just me, it was everyone at the park. It was supposed to be an event where 20,000 people worked together to catch or raid pokémons but it ended up being 20,000 people with their heads down staring at their phones trying to get connected to the network or load the app.
I was there for a bit over 2 hours. In total I spun 2 stops and caught 2 pokémons: onyx and magikarp. A grand total of 200m was registered. Hatched an egg (rhyhorn) but couldn’t start to incubate or spin at a stop to get a new one. At least I got the event badge.
Left around 2.30pm and went to get something to eat. I hadn’t eaten anything and only drank a bottle of water up to then. The people at the next table were also from go fest and everyone expressed disappointment. The worst was when I was walking out and I heard a dad said to his son,
I’m sorry this was such a bomb.
I tried the app while I was eating and saw to my amazement, a porygon and then a chansey. The app crashed when I was catching the porygon but I got the chansey, phew I needed the chansey more. I started walking slowly to the station because I had around an hour before the train. Saw a bunch of people outside an alley and it turned out to be unown.
Niantic CEO and CMO got booed when they went on stage in the park to greet the crown. Turned out, they hadn’t informed the cellular providers they were having an event where 20,000 people would try to get on the internet. They had “forgotten” to install wifi towers. The servers couldn’t take the strain (nothing new there, par for the course for Niantic).
So they extended the catch radius to two miles outside grant park. Those of us who were finally able to get a signal saw the promised rare pokémons. In addition to the porygon and chansey I also got unown and heracross. My recents don’t look so bad.
As I was taking the train back to the house, I was reading about possible compensation. The official Niantic apology to registered attendees:
refund of the $20 ticket
$100 worth of pokécoins
radius of special pokémons and eggs extend 2 miles for 24hrs (only visible to registered attendees)
legendary pokémon lugia to be automatically added to the account
I haven’t received any notifications yet; the compensation seems to be just about enough to shut people up. Doesn’t take away the fact that they ruined many people’s day. People came in from all over the US or around the world to play and they couldn’t. Especially sorry for all the families who were there, the kids must have been gutted. Trainers around the world who had organised their day to coincide with the event were also left confused and with no information. A good rundown of the how the day went is at heavy.
Apparently within the 2 mile radius after the event it’s super fun. Lures and legendary raids everywhere. But most attendees have probably gone home or away from the area.
Anyway, I’m leaving on Monday and I still haven’t seen a single tauros shadow. That’s another complaint for another day.
Niantic announced that for pokemon go’s first anniversary in july there will be a bunch of new features. There will also be physical events: a large event in chicago, sponsored events at a bunch of shopping centres in europe, and the annual pikachu outbreak in yokohama will be enhanced.
The event in chicago, pokemon go fest will be at grant park on 22 july. They haven’t published a details but looks like there will be challenges, a special medal, an exclusive 2km egg. Plus probably merchandise, food and other festival things. I’m still in chicago then so it was a no brainer to plan to go. Ticket sale started at 11am central time. I stayed up watching the website and as soon as the page changed, I clicked in to get my ticket.
I don’t know whether it’s cheap or expensive. $20 for the ticket but then there’s $6.18 additional fee and $5 shipping. I guess it’s affordable.
Aapparently the tickets sold out after 4 minutes. If it’s because bots and scalpers get them, it’s terrible. It simply never occured to me to get extra tickets.
The biggest tease they have on the website is a heracross. Will it migrate north? I’d love to catch one. To be honest I’m very worried about tauros because I’m reading disappointed accounts from people visitng the US and finding that it’s become extremely rare since gen 2.
I will have my Three sim card that gives me 3GB. By the time the 22nd rolls around, i’d be at the end of my trip, hopefully I still have enough data left or they provide wifi at the event. I’ll even pay for a wifi day pass if necessary.
The plan was to meet mm late afternoon after her appointment. There’s a pokemongo water event going on and I was looking at appx trying to see if lapras was anywhere. There’s an area between 3 stations that showed promise so I left earlier and headed over there. Turned out to be part of a temple complex, the garden was pretty with lots of traditional plants, a pagoda, bridges and a waterfall. Good tourist spot, good photo ops and there’s a shop and restaurant. Good spawning selection too, got a few new gen 2. Then I saw lapras’ shadow and was so grateful for the footprints showing exactly where the stop was. It was an athletics track at a nearby school and I ran through another garden and jaywalked across the road to get there. Sign that not many people are still playing, there were only around a dozen people there.
Met with mm around 5pm and went to a hotpot restaurant. They have a 10% discount for the 5-7.30pm slot. Instead of going for tea then walking then dinner we thought we’d have dinner first. Great idea, the place gets very crowded at normal dinnertime but so early it was relatively quiet. Food was good, we liked the prawns and vegetables; tried fish soup this time which went well with our favourites.
Time enough to walk around and we ended up at the heritage house bar. No happy hour and fairly expensive but we had the place to ourselves for a good 2 hours before a few people came in for after dinner drinks.
The alarm was at 5.15am but I was so tired I didn’t wake up till almost 6am. I went downstairs to check out the breakfast and ate a sausage and some eggs very quickly. We checked out and grabbed a taxi to the airport. Everything was quick. There was a display of pokemons near the departure gate so I stopped to get pics. Haven’t had data in Singapore aside from wifi at the hotel so I’ve only managed to hunt in the room. When the gps drifts I can catch a stop and there were a few commons around. I don’t mind that it’s pidgeys and rattatas, as long as it shows the Singapore location tag.
The plane was almost full, with many familys (with small babies). Watched Ghostbusters and Looper, napped a bit, ate everything they gave me including half of Mum’s pasta. Ghostbusters was funny and there were a couple of places where I must have laughed out loud, something not to do on a quiet plane. Looper was interesting and the sort of film I like too.
The plane landed at 8pm. We could use the e-passport lane so we were out really quickly. Took a long time for the luggage to come out though. It was around 9.15pm already. Had a little something to eat at the airport then took the train to our hotel. A closed gate and construction meant a longer walk than intended, it was around 10mins instead of 5mins. Our room is quite nice and we got settled. MKR is on, yay!!! I’m also set up electronically and tested the Three simcard I bought.
And I’m already seeing kangaskhan on my nearby list. It’s almost midnight so too late to run out, from what I’ve read it’s everywhere so I’m not worried. Hopefully I’ll get it tomorrow.
My last recorded run was in June. My last serious training run was in March. It’s been a long time. I’m not sure if I’m ready yet, but an occasional 5k will do me good. Luckily, the charmander nest had gone from the small park, so only regular walkers were there. The gps went a little wonky, I was able to estimate total distance. The usual complaint, slow af.
Went to morse park after the run. The new nearby screen had a christmas pikachu and I was able to find it easily. The new nearby screen is both good and bad; it enables us to go after pokémons that are spawning near stops but the ones that aren’t near stops are totally invisible and depend on luck to find them. It is what it is.
No office this week, I finished my project. Still went out early to walk around and explore a supposed seel nest. Only got 2 despite walking around for more than half an hour.
Then it was a long long wait at the flat for the washing machine delivery. First I had to disconnect the old washing machine and pipes because the delivery people only deliver. Took me about 10-15mins, had to figure everything out. After delivery, another 2-3hr wait for the technician to come and install it. He told me I could have arranged for someone to disconnect for a small fee. He was quite chatty, changed the socket and installed a filter between the outlet pipe and outside pipe to get rid of the sewage smell. All done at 4pm. Waste of a day. I hope the tenant appreciates it.
Needed something to eat and some wine. Saw an italian restaurant, Al Dente, near the escalator with 2-for-1 happy hour between 3-8. I was the only customer there. Asked for the snack menu and then the waiter said chef isn’t here yet so i said okay, no problem. He was thankful I was understanding. The house chianti was nice. When the chef came back, I ordered the anchovy butter bruschetta. Didn’t realse it’d be 6 pieces! Ordered a second round of wine, which the waiter comped. I gave him a 20% tip on top of the 10% service.
The bruschetta was filling enough to serve as dinner, so I went to a new area by the harbour that saw 4 porygons one day last week. Didn’t get lucky, walked to the end of the path and back. Got some various pokemons, probably should have stayed longer. At that point, I’d walked 10km for the day so I wanted to get home.
I never remember my dreams. I never know what they’re about but recent ones have felt busy. As in, mundane stuff and talking and going about daily stuff. Or something like that.
May be I’m still thinking about pokehunting. I dreamed I caught a lapras. Sigh, if only. I’m close to getting enough candies to evolve charizard, cloyser, dewgong and weezing so I’m not worried about them. The ones I’m missing are the usual: snorlax, lapras, chansey, porygon. Plus regionals, but I have enough travel plans to have them covered.
During US Thanksgiving last week there was a double XP and stardust pokemon go event. I didn’t take advantage of it; aside from remembering to go outside at least once a day to get the daily bonus I hadn’t been playing systematically.
There was also the appearance of ditto, one of the ones in the pokedex that wasn’t previously available in the wild. People reported that they caught commons like rattata, pidgey and zubat and instead of the gotcha message they got an oh? and it transformed to a ditto.
I was planning to go walk around on Thursday after work, to rattata heavy places to see if I can find a ditto. Today, though, I had to go to the market to get onion and celery for the braised pork knuckle I want to make on Friday. Went earlier to see what’s going on at morse park. At the spot where there’s a gym and 4 stops there was a cluster of 2 bellsprouts, 2 slowpokes and a pidgey. Normally I’d go for the slowpoke but somehow I clicked on the pidgey. One red ball carelessly thrown and I wasn’t even looking closely at the screen when I got the oh? message. Yay, my first ditto!
Got a second one at carpenter road park that has an abra nest. After walking one circuit around and catching 3 abras, a geodude, a rhyhorn and other commons I was walking back to the market and there was a zubat. I hadn’t bothered with zubats for a long time. This one was quite stubborn, I was out of red balls and got it from my 4th or 5th great ball. The oh? screen again. Two dittos in an hour, I’m happy. Thursday’s plans now have to be amended. May be I’ll go to signal hill again, or I may try a new area where people have reported chansey, porygon and possibly lapras.
Thursday is office day, but I didn’t need to go in today. But I still left early because I had a lot planned for the day.
There is a pokemon go halloween event. Massive spawnings of gastly family, drowzee family and cubone family literally everywhere. The tracker map is back and if the map is zoomed out there are so many spawnings that they’re all clustered together.
I took over the gym up the road only to realise I had a few hours to go to claim my bonus, hahaha. Someone kicked me out soon after. By then I was on my way to the nearby housing estate for breakfast. I’d only been playing about an hour and my phone already needed charging. Another 30mins or so walking around morse park and more gastlys and drowzees and I caught my first marowak. Bus to signal hill, with a detour at k11 to charge both phone and ext battery. Signal hill gave more than just the halloween spawns, good varieties but nothing too exciting.
Lunch of scotch egg from marks and seasonal japanese beer from 7-eleven. Sat at the downtown park, with first very efficient sniping of the gym at one of the fountains. Quite hot but okay to sit outside, tolerable pollution today. They turned the fountain on while I was there, it was peaceful to watch it for a few minutes.
A good morning’s work. A huge amount of pokemons caught and also candy increase. Double candies means 6 per pokemon caught, I’m now at almost 300 gastly candies.
Dropped off a document at the bank, then walked back to the office. It’s almost november and still it’s 30ºC. Did a little work, surfed around the internet and continued reading my book. I’m not billing today so I’m not actually working, just charging my phone and enjoying the aircon.
We left quite late, almost 7pm. Dinner at 8pm at pokka café, mm had udon and I had korean fried chicken and topoki. We joined the restaurant group’s membership and one of the perks is one voucher per month of a free drink with meal. Considering they are a coffee specialist, their coffee is pretty good. But mm didn’t want coffee so we asked if we can order iced chocolate. Wow. I almost never order chocolate drinks because I find them too sweet or too sickly rich. This was different. Rich, but not overly so. Not too sweet. Very smooth. Came in a jug which we can pour over ice ourselves (or ask for a second glass and share). Good enough to be a dessert. This will be our monthly indulgence for the next 11 months.
I bought a few incubators in the morning and by the time I got home after a long day, I hatched two 10km eggs. Eevee and Electabuzz, sigh.
I wanted to go to morse park and nearby but ended up at elements with mm. The nest there changed from abra to gastly. I got there early and walked around the shopping centre, then met mm and we walked around again. Total caught over the course of a few hours were 17 gastlys, a whole lot of voltorbs and magnemites and others. I’m about 2 gastlys short of being able to evolve.
We stayed at the shopping centre, dinner was at a counter service semi-fast food place at the supermarket. I had beef set and mm had mackerel set. The best thing in the set was the cabbage salad.
Met sis for breakfast at hmv. I had what they called a breakfast pizza: bacon, egg, spinach, tomato and hashbrown. We were the first customers and the food was obviously freshly made, came to the table piping hot. Large enough pizza for lunch.
The purpose of today was to go to the banks to deal with some of Papa’s stuff. Got one bank sorted. Gave documents to another bank and decided to leave the third bank for another day. Sis had to drop off a guitar, then we went to the yacht club for lunch. I had overcooked calves’ liver, a bit disappointing.
Waved sis off in a taxi and walked over to my hairdresser’s. They moved to a new place, much much nicer, more modern and roomier. I was there early enough so he could cut my hair, when mm came we had to wait for a couple of other customers. No big deal. Small (<10%) increase in price, he hadn’t increased our prices for about 10 years so it’s okay.
Happy hour at an izakaya. We had beer, vegetable gyoza, grilled sausages, shiso leaf tempura (delicious!), grilled chicken soft bone (yummy). Either a set with beer or 1-for-1 beer. Didn’t hurry, just ordered a couple of skewers at a time like we should at an izakaya. Nice industrial design at the restaurant, using pipes, sockets and bits of wood.
Still early so we went to v-park where I spotted a few vulpixes earlier in the day. Ended the night with 7 of them, from zero. Looks like a new nest there.
Mum had last minute dinner with her friends so I took the opportunity to take the shuttlebus to morse park for about an hour. I saw snorlax there earlier and lamented that I didn’t have a car, or wasn’t obsessed enough to hop into a taxi.
No snorlax while I was there. Kabuto as usual, a farfetch’d, a nidorqueen and just as I was leaving, an onix opposite the bus terminal. I had just about enough time to sprint there, catch it and sprint back to the shuttlebus stop.
We needed veg so I went to the market, with a detour to supposedly a slowpoke nest. Walked a little around morse park, got the usual kabutos. The slowpoke nest is a canal / sewage channel that’s closed off for…sewage works. Saw one slowpoke, grrrr. Probably too early in the day. Walked to another park, nothing much happening there either. There was a gym that remained empty for 5 mins so I couldn’t help but occupy it.
Slowly making my way back to do shopping and about to close the game. Took one last look at go radar and there it was, a dragonite with just over 6 mins to go. I had to look at the map and run down a couple of unfamiliar streets. Got there with 2 mins to spare. Definitely too early in the day, there were only about 10-20 people. Yes, CP only 46 but I got my first dragonite.
Icing on the cake, another slowpoke on the shuttlebus home.
Drove out to an out of the way town that supposedly has nests of several pokemons. Ended up at toastbox and supermarket for 3hrs. By the time we ventured to the park and pier where the nests are, it was getting dark. And add to that, couldn’t find street parking.
Drove to another town, with a detour for petrol. Still no parking.
Ended up at the place near mm’s sis’ flat, where I saw 7 pikachus in just over an hour that time mum was at the clinic. And yes, there were pikachus a few others. We also teamed up to take turns sniping a gym. It’s getting a bit cooler now so it was nice to be at the park with an open view of the harbour.
Didn’t have dinner so was famished. Fast microwaved noodles at 7-eleven.
Met mm for dinner. We’d bought a tomahawk steak voucher a while ago at 50% off. It’s a huge 1.2kg steak that the restaurant recommended for 3-4 people. We were like, really? We polished off 1kg steak at Hawksmoor and Bear just the two of us. A 1.2kg steak with bone yields may be 800g of meat, for 4 people that’s a measly 200g.
The steak came charred on the outside and pretty raw inside. They gave us a hot stone so we could cook it to our liking. Had to change the stone a couple of times because we took our time eating. The steak itself was okay. Quite a bit of sinew and inedible bits. Not bad in terms of taste. Came with chips, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and gravy. Everything got cold far too quickly. They charged us 10% of the full price for service, not the discounted voucher price. I guess the hot stone and cutting up the steak for us count as additional service.
Was quite tempted to take the bone home for stock but I mentally went through the pots and pans at home and decided I don’t have a pan big enough. Will need a saw to chop up the bone and it was too much trouble. Shame, because I can imagine how great the stock will be.
We had early dinner because we wanted to go to signal hill, a busy pokémon hotspot. Guess who we ran into? Our friend and fellow hunter D. He showed us all the local tricks, as he’s an old hand at signal hill. The top of the hill is reached by some very steep steps but very pretty, can see a long way. The moon was out too. Afterwards he took us to a nearby shopping mall with benches and seats for resting in air-conditioned comfort. Best thing, there were many plug and usb points for recharging our phones.
Supposed to be a super typhoon coming, so I went to the market to get some fresh food.
Detoured to morse park, hahaha. In just 5 mins I caught a whole bunch of pokémons. In 10mins I caught poliwhirl, abra, beedrill, ghastly, jynx, paras, clefairy, weedle, caterpie, and a couple of kabutos.
Checked goradar and saw an aerodactyl at the top end of the park. Only my second, the first one was hatched from a 10km egg.
Oh, market wasn’t too busy. Got some fruit, veg and frozen food. Took my cool bag with me so it was easy to carry. Managed to get on the shuttlebus with just one minute to go.
Met mm in the afternoon for pokehunting at a hotspot our friend Dixon recommended to us. First order of business, the train station we met is a gym. She got there first and managed to sneak in for her 10 gold. She helped me get my 10 gold by weakening the defending trainers, what teamwork! Walked more than half an hour alongside the river path. Didn’t see pikachu or too many rare ones but steadily caught pidgeys and weedles. We didn’t always have our heads down staring at our phones, I spotted this really great shot underneath one of the road bridges crisscrossing the path. The reflection of the underside of the bridge on the water together with the supporting pillars was a picture perfect example of composition.
At the shopping centre that was our destination, we sat down for tea and a chat. Had cheesecake swiss roll, she had chocolate and I had a butterscotch flavoured one. Looked online to find where to go for dinner and decided on an outdoor daipaidong all-you-can-eat hotpot place. Ended up hopping on a taxi, and the driver gave us a good tip about another daipaidong nearby.
The restaurant was messy and definitely not fine dining. Lots of choices of food, laid out buffet style. The beef wasn’t the greatest but there were prawns, oysters and mussels. All fresh and delicious and well worth it. We basically focused on the seafood. Unlimited soft drinks too. Time limit 2hrs, we were full in well under that time. Worked it off by walking around looking for more pokemons.
Followed the radar and our friend’s tip and found ourselves in a small park. We joined dozens of people sitting at an outdoor stage area in the middle of 4 pokestops that were constantly lured. I got a blastoise, which I’m so chuffed about but poor mm, hers ran away. We stayed at the park until closing time. On the bus home we both caught onix so it was a good day.
Mum had an appointment at the family clinic. Normally it’s okay for her to go herself but I went with her. Not to go to the clinic but to visit this pikachu hotspot. Just over an hour I caught 5, one ran away and one was on the map but I never saw it. Also got a dratini, a hitmochan and a few others. A good haul. It was absolutely pelting down with rain and I got thoroughly soaked even with an umbrella. There were puddles everywhere so my shoes and socks got squeaky wet quickly. Backpack was dripping, bottom of jeans were dripping. But I had fun.
Went out to morse park to walk around and pokéhunt. It’s a well known kabuto and jynx nest. Got a kabuto quickly and walked around for more other stuff. At the most crowded area outside the badminton courts where 3 pokéstops intersect, there were again a big crowd. Then someone shouted something and everyone started running. I heard something-dragon but didn’t know what it was. Followed them anyway. Everyone was running to the next park, about 7mins away. The destination was a basketball court but I couldn’t see what it was, probably missed by a few seconds. It was a dragonite, argh!
Luckily, on the way back I found a venusaur. Back at the park I hunted till my storage was full, so I caught 30-40 in just a couple of hours at my local-ish park.
Went to the market and supermarket to get fruit and veg. Shuttlebus home. Tired, it was an extremely hot and humid day, I was permanently soaked through and had to shower twice.
Before bed I used a lucky egg and power evolve for 30mins. I saved up pidgeys and weedles and worked out a plan of action based on pokémons and candies. Was able to evolve 62, so got at least 62,000 XP. More because some were new, which gives 2,000 XP.
I start today at my friend B’s law firm. One day a week. It’s a small firm, only B and one associate, plus mm who is there twice a week. Two support staff and another part time intern.
I’m obviously not a lawyer but B wanted me to help with writing some marketing materials on employment related issues for a start up business. Also templates for staff handbook. Then I can help with status reports for their clients. It’s pretty low level and not that well paid. It gets me out of the flat for a day, the change of scenery hopefully will do me good.
One of the support staff also started today so everyone went for lunch together. A new restaurant that doubles as live music bar at night. Set lunches only. The food is average, the service was pretty bad. There were 6 of us. First, 5 soups came plus one main course. Eventually the missing soup came. Main courses came out randomly. Two people had the same food and one mains we had to chase and chase and chase. Worse, the waiter gave us attitude. Not going back there.
After work, mm and I went pokßhunting at a new spot. Deliberately took a long bus and were rewarded when we saw pikachu. My first one! We had a super successful evening, catching 8-9 (we lost count) electabuzzes, lots of other medium rare pokémons. Plenty of walking too. It was getting late but we stopped at a dessert place for a breather. Then go radar said there was a lapras nearby. We ran, together with dozens of people, but missed by seconds. Drat.
We were walking towards the station when we spotted other things. Found dratini, arbok, machop nearby. Took several backwards and forward before we finally reached the station. 11.45pm when I got home. But feeling quite happy. Total probably around 90 caught
Met up with mm to go pokéhunting. The shopping centre we went to didn’t have many good pokémons but it was nice to just sit and relax. Our friend D whatsapped us that he’s ready to hunt. We met up first at Hullet House, which used to be the marine police headquarters and now converted to a hotel. The colonial building has been restored and it looks very pretty, both during the day and at nightfall.
The bar had happy hour which included local craft beers. Definitely a colonial atmosphere and a nice place to meet and chat.
D took us to some hotspots: the back of ToysRUs, the far corner of a rooftop car park. Got a few draginis and a golduck. We had dinner at a casual Italian place. I had the wagyu beef set: scallop salad, pumpkin soup, A5 wagyu steak, petit fours. The steak was…okay. Very thin and not rare enough.
After dinner we walked to a place D said he found Pikachus but there weren’t any. It’s next to my bus stop home so it was at least convenient.
Looking at what’s new in the app store, mainly to download pokémon trackers. Downloaded flip diving and it’s surprisingly addictive.
There are different locations, tricks to learn and different divers too. Each game takes only a minute or so but I turn around and I’ve been playing for 20mins. We can even record our best or worst dives.
Going out for the third time in 3 days. Met mm and another old friend D to go pokehunting. He’s at level 23 or 24 and goes out every night hunting, so diligent. He has a lot of the high level pokemons. The funniest thing is that his son is already in college and has refused to play because his dad does, hahaha.
We met at a shopping centre, took a slow bus ride to the big shopping centre at ocean terminal. So close to the harbour and in one of the most crowded areas there were plenty of sightings. We couldn’t walk 10m without another fish or squid showing up. The two of them were deflinitely more keen on playing than me.
D’s wife joined us for dinner at a popular authentic korean place. Good food and value for money even though it’s in the michelin guide. Four of us had a 2-3 person set and added ox tongue. We called our friend P who is having dinner with his family nearby and he joined us for ice cream.
Quite tired. Looking forward to staying home tomorrow.
Met mm for tea, wanted her to look at a document I was sent. We met up in a corner of a bookstore where people sat and read. She was also charging her phone. Showed me how to play pokemon gym too. We went to a nearby department store to look at white goods and coffee maker for her, and to the wine department to look at wines.
Happy hour at a burger place where we had draught beer and a snack. Bus to the computer centre, taking advantage of the ride to play more pokemon. Got her an external battery and had quick wonton noodles.
Nice pleasant day out, and cost efficient too.
The gym near me all of a sudden was empty but it was 11.30pm and too late for me to go over there. It’s only 2 mins’ walk. It was quite exciting for a minute because there’s never anything nearby.
I really don’t like it when plans get pushed out of the window. I had my repeat doctor’s appointment in the morning then was going to take pizza or sushi to sis’ place. Got a call that doc is unavailable so the appointment is cancelled. Didn’t feel like traipsing all the way over to sis’. It was almost 11am and I didn’t feel like rummaging through the freezer so I took more clothes for recycling and then a minibus to the halal restaurant for lamb curry noodles.
Windy and cold, the 8km run in the afternoon was done partly against a strong headwind but the low temperatures meant a good pace.
A news article that caught my eye today was google’s AI vs human Go champion. I know the principles of the game go, and my dad played it. I was never very good at games like chess–never good at any games really.
Quite fascinated to watch the devs at google deepmind talk about their AI, called alphago. Clever programming approach. Instead of having the AI go through the
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible positions
it combines a smaller search tree method with machine learning. The devs first had alphago learn the 30 million moves from games played by human experts then it played thousands of games against itself, to learn new strategies.
Alphago has already beaten the European champion and this week goes up against World champion Lee Sedol for a US$1m prize. So far it’s 2-0. The games are long, game 1 was almost 4hrs and game 2 almost 6hrs.
Some of the biggest advantages of an AI vs human is that the AI never gets tired or emotional. In these areas, humans always lose.
Originally mm and I were supposed to meet up for lunch, but we decided to postpone because of the poor weather. Instead, I spent the whole day playing plague. I’d played a free copycat, infection, and decided to spend 0.99 on the better original. The aim is to infect and kill the entire earth population before a cure is found. The plagues progress from bacteria to bio weapon and within each plague category are different difficulty levels. The trick is to figure out the best way to win: infect everyone with low grade symptoms first; go for lethal symptoms quickly; transmit the disease through air, insects, blood; which country to infect first; how to deal with difficult-to-infect countries. Lots of possible strategies with different outcomes.
What makes it addictive is the seemingly endless possibilities, and each game can be finished in about 15-20mins. It’s a world domination sim game that makes you think, and the game has even attracted the attention of people at the CDC, who invited the developer to visit and talk about the game,
as a tool to teach the public about outbreaks and disease transmission because of how it uses a non-traditional route to raise public awareness on epidemiology, disease transmission, and diseases/pandemic information
The game was released in 2012 and has been downloaded millions of times, so I’m way behind the curve. I working my way through the standard plague types, hopefully the special types will unlock without needing to pay.
There are also many achievements to earn, which affects strategy. Combinations of symptoms, killing everybody under 365 days, cause a nuclear meltdown are just a few of the achievements.
Random popups give news or are important hints to get achievements. The Olympics get cancelled, then reinstated, and people in the UK are infected. Apple$oft (snerk) introduces iCure. Victory isn’t always guaranteed either. One advantage of coming to a well-established game late is the number of tips and cheats posted. Lots more hours of play until I get bored.
When my niece learned that I have still have my old gameboy (pocket, I must have given the original one to the charity shop ages ago), she asked if she could have it. When we tried to turn it on, we could hear the sound, but the screen only showed one horizontal line.
me: you can definitely have it, but it doesn’t work
niece: it doesn’t matter, it’s a gameboy
me: you sure? it doesn’t work
niece: it’s a gameboy
I could hear her emphasis and I guess I can see her fascination with something that is older than her. I know she’d be happy with the non-working gameboy, but what if I can get it working again? Gameboys are still available on ebay, and there are videos and instructions on how to fix them. One option is to mod it using a raspberry pi.
I don’t have the skills or confidence for that sort of repair, so I took a chance and went to one of those messy computer malls and found a hole-in-the-wall stall amongst the computer and video game repairs section. After taking it in for inspection, the young man called me back after a few days and said it’d been repaired. Yay!! For the equivalent of USD20-ish, they replaced the circuit board and I have again a working gameboy.
I remember bubble bobble being one of my favourites. I can play it, but I can’t for the life of me get beyond the first level. Argh! May be my niece will teach me.
Playing a couple of old games that have resurfaced in the app store. Slay was a game I used to play on mum’s PC in the 1990s, I think I have the 3.5” disk somewhere. It’s a simple strategy game where the aim is to move soldiers and occupy as many hexagons as possible. No bells-and-whistles graphics, just pixelated men with moving arms and hexagons in different shades of green. The trick is to link patches, put down towers, stop trees from spreading and make sure you have enough land to maintain different levels of soldiers. Oh, and attack other hexagons.
The graphics have stayed decidedly 1990s in the iphone/ipad version, which makes it kinda cute. The soldiers still yell “oh” when they are attacked, the attackers still have this evil laugh and dying soldiers scream as they turn into graves. I think I paid for the windows version, and I paid again for the app store version. It’s addictive nostalgia.
A game that predates Slay was Hampstead, a text game for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. I read that it’s been revived and available on the app store, free. So I downloaded it pronto. The idea is to move out of a filthy council house and get loadsamoney eventually moving into a mansion in Hampstead. Pure satire.
Love that these older games are coming back. Next on my list are the Sierra games like Police Quest, King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry, all have been ported to sarien’s mobile site. There’s a strategy game similar to Slay I used to play on my old macs, I can’t remember the name so I can’t search for it, sigh.
Spent a chunk of the weekend playing geoguessr, which I’ve bookmarked since it came out wanting to try it. Basically it drops you at a random google street view location, you can move around, make your guess on the map at the side and the game awards points based on how close your guess is. Sometimes it’s easier, with street signs, buildings even buses as clues, sometimes it’s just a dirt path with vegetation all around it. It’s an honours game, and you’re not supposed to google but, well. So here’s a typical game, you get 5 locations.
location 1: a busy pavement-less road, dry vegetation and what looks like a goat at the side of the road analysis: right-hand drive, seems to be a hot location so not UK or Ireland. No pavements so probably not Australia. More likely to be South Africa. Further down the road there is a Toyota dealer with partial name. At this point I did google result: Botswana, not SA
location 2: holy cow, coral in the middle of the ocean analysis: no idea, so I guessed the great barrier reef
result: somewhere in the gulf of mexico. At least I got more than zero points
location 3: straight single-lane road surrounded by farm, small road on the left with US-style mailbox leading to several houses and a barn analysis: somewhere in the middle of the US, it’s flat and farm country. I guessed Wyoming result: it was Idaho
location 4: chinese-styled white arch with red curved-roof building behind it, tourist buses parked in front analysis: I can read the writing on the arch, and I’ve been to this place
result: chiang kai shek memorial, taipei. I was 100m out because I didn’t put the pin exactly where the street view vehicle was
location 5: corn fields, just like what we used to see on the X-files analysis: mid-west USA, I guessed Indiana result: southern Illinois
Total score 17,587. I think the max is around 30,000. My highest score so far is 24,989. It’s not all guessing, and some tips include looking at the weather, vegetation and soil if it’s in the middle of nowhere. Whether it’s right- or left-hand drive (if there are no cars road markings may help) is a good clue, as are road signs. I was dropped in a snow covered road surrounded by trees and thought it was Canada until I saw a beat-up Volvo and road maintenance signs that didn’t feel like Canada. Correctly guessed it was Sweden. It’s also useful to know where street view has visited: most of Africa, the middle of South America, China, Middle-East and the eastern part of Russia are out.
It gets slightly boring after about 20-30 games though, when it’s yet another empty road with nothing around it but scenery — I don’t have sufficient interest in plants or soil to spend time figuring out that reddish soil means either Australia or Mexico, or conifers suggest a colder region.
Mum and I went over to Sis’ place to pick up my niece, who is coming over for a night. She has my ipad but she isn’t allowed to play games on it, and out of all her immediate family, I have the most games on my iphone. So I introduced her to bad piggies, and she raced through the first level. She’s 10, it’s second nature to her.
The folks at Rovio, of angry birds and bad piggies fame, are planning something nefarious. Their first tumblr post has just a gif and a place/time: Times Square, New York, October 8th, 10am EST. There’s also a hint, to head to Toys’R’Us at 8am.
Sounds innocent enough? Except it’s Angry Birds. And the image is of a figure hidden inside a jedi robe holding a LIGHTSABRE. Angry Birds Star Wars! Wow. I need to stop hyperventilating. Now why did I leave NYC again?
My niece was already up when I woke up. We had lunch at home (ahhhh, so great to eat some simple home cooked food) and then spent the afternoon playing on the wii. Mostly, she played and I joined in a little, in between uploading pics.
They had to go home for dinner so it was just me and my parents. We went to another all-you-can-eat Japanese place. Sat at the sushi bar and ordered our little hearts out. Soft drinks and beer were free. We ended up having a ton of sashimi, a handroll each, some beef sushi, tempura, grilled vegetables, salad and ice cream. My favourites were sashimi and the whole sweet beef tomato. Not a lot of meat, just fish and vegetables.
After dinner, Mum and I went to the computer centre to get some flashdrives. We also went to the “sneaker street” but I was so disappointed. Nike Free 2.0 and Lunarglide 3 were more expensive than if I used a coupon at runningwarehouse. No Sauconys in sight whatsoever. Of course it means I have to be in the US to pick up the delivered shoes.
Been playing wordsmith with mm. Because of timezones, we can only play during certain hours when we’re both awake, but it’s been fun. Sometimes when we’re on the phone we go through each other’s letters and come up with words. Scoring doesn’t matter. It’s just another method of maintaining ties and feeling close.
We tend to keep to simple words, but I find out that there are different rules and single words that are high scoring include quixotry and caziques. Don’t even know wha they mean.
I had half a day, and was vacillating between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Finally the lure of the revamped Star Tours ride proved irresistible so DHS it was. We always loved this park, it’s so full of surprises. Got fastpass for the ride, and went to find lunch. Cheeseburger and a beer, to continue the unhealthy non-running diet. The new ride is interesting, gone is the Endor scenes and now it’s a more modern romp through space. The line at Toy Story Mania never got below 60mins, I believe I’m destined to have to wait a long time for it.
Wasn’t able to check-in online so had to go to the airport earlier than expected. Ate more junk food and a soft serve ice cream to boot. The aircraft on the way back was even more elderly than the one coming in, unbelievable. The controls were the ones embedded in the seat-rest, ack I’ve forgotten these existed! The whole upper deck was full. Was the extra money for premium economy worth it? For the comfort and quiet yes, but it’s not value for money considering the condition of the planes. I guess it’s worse in economy class.