Kingdom Rush Game Trilogy

This post is rather past due, as the games I am about to mention were released many years ago.

I’m a big fan of tower defense games. They’re my favorite game genre, especially when it comes to mobile or iPad gaming. If you’re a fan of the genre, you should definitely check out these games, if you haven’t already.

A friend introduced me to Kingdom Rush many years ago. It was made way back in 2011. I didn’t know about it at the time. I originally played the game on my phone, and then later on my iPad. (The iPad versions of the Kingdom Rush game series are named with “HD”.) The game is also available on other platforms, including Steam. I haven’t played it on other platforms, so I can’t speak to the game experiences there.

Kingdom Rush is fantastic! It’s probably my favorite mobile game, ever. The graphics, special effects, and witty audio are all beautifully crafted. The game progression and path to equipment upgrades are very well calculated. In Normal playing mode, the difficulty is not too easy, but also not too hard. It’s balanced to be just right, with steady advancement while continuing to be very challenging.

A couple of years after the original game, Kingdom Rush game developer, Ironhide, developed a sequel called “Kingdom Rush Frontiers.” Frontiers is equally as great as the original, and also incorporates some fun new elements. I definitely recommend it, along with the original Kingdom Rush.

This brings me to the third game in the series, “Kingdom Rush Origins.” I recently discovered it in the App Store a couple of months ago, but to my surprise, it was released back in 2014. Origins is a prequel in the series. The game has the same layout and concept as the first two, but with different weapons, graphics, and sound effects. Since it is a prequel to the other games, the weaponry is more primitive and simplistic. Their approach is quite creative, but I find the Origins game to be rather frustrating. It is simply too hard.

After the first few introductory levels, the difficulty increases too much, too fast. The number of plots available to construct towers seems unreasonably limited. After a few minor successes, unpredicted enemies simply steamroll through the village, that seemingly no amount of weapon deployments and upgrades can put a dent in. At other times, enemies appear that disable your defense towers for a period of time, allowing even more armies of enemies to march right past unscathed. Such difficult scenarios should only occur in the latest stages of the game — not near the beginning, or the middle. This brings a level of frustration that makes Origins a nuisance to play.

While I wholeheartedly recommend Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers, I really cannot recommend Origins. It feels as if the game is nearly unwinnable with the tools they have provided. Your mileage may vary, but this was my experience. The difficulty was increased beyond the limit of enjoyment.

It is worth mentioning that none of these games are free. Each (mobile version) costs several dollars each. I personally have no problem with that. I’m perfectly willing to pay for a good quality game that provides hours of entertainment. My only gripe about that is when you purchase a game upfront but still they later encourage you to make additional in-app purchases to maintain a competitive edge in the game. Such, I believe is the case with Origins. That is why I can’t recommend that branch of the series.

Looking forward, I have read news online that the game developer Ironhide had announced in 2017 that they were working on a fourth installment to the series. However, as of this writing in July 2018, I haven’t been able to find any further information about what that will be, or whether the game will actually come to fruition.

Kingdom Rush

Everybody’s Golf PS4 Local Multiplayer

I’ll jump straight to the point: Does “Everybody’s Golf” on PlayStation 4 allow local multiplayer? Yes!

There. Said and done. If you want to read more, continue on…

Ages ago I used to play an old PlayStation 2 game called Hot Shots Golf. I don’t remember why I had it at the time, but it turned out to be an incredibly fun game. The playful, cartoonish nature of the gameplay made it far more fun than the more serious variety of golf games, such as PGA Tour.

Hot Shots Golf 3 was made way back in 2002. I hadn’t thought about the game in a long time, until I was going through a box of old video games in my closet. I found this game and fired up my old PS2 to play it once again. The graphics are dated, for sure, but the overall fun is certainly still there.

With that backstory out of the way, I was searching online to see if the developer had made a more recent version of the game. The answer is yes!

The international version of Hot Shots Golf was called Everybody’s Golf. The company had ditched the Hot Shots Golf name in favor of a unified title. To my surprise, a shiny new release of Everybody’s Golf hit the PlayStation 4 in late 2017. I was so excited! It became an instant must-have.

I will note that Everybody’s Golf (and its predecessors) are made by a game studio in Japan, and are distributed by Sony Computer Interactive. As such, these titles aren’t available on the XBOX.

My friend and I went to GameStop to look for this game. They had the game, but we were sorely disappointed to see that the backside of the case was labeled as one-player only. (There were online multiplayer options, but that wasn’t my immediate interest.) The one-player limitation completely took the wind out of our sails.

While in the store, I scrambled on my phone to search online for clarification about the possibly a local multiplayer option. I wasn’t able to find any definitive answer about it on any websites, reviews, or message boards. It was a rather quick search, but a direct answer was elusive.

Despite that major potential drawback, we decided to buy the game anyway.

And…

I am here to tell you that the game DOES support local multiplayer! (A few online forums had commented that you need to share a single controller, but that is absolutely not true.) You can play the game in local multiplayer mode using multiple controllers. Why the box lists the game as one-player is beyond me. It makes no sense because it is completely untrue. I wonder how many potential sales they’ve lost by labeling that on there.

Beyond the multiplayer aspect, the game play is excellent. The characters aren’t quite as goofy as the old Hot Shots game, but all of the fun game elements are still there. In fact, the controls are the same as the game I played all those years ago. The graphics are modern and attractive. The sound effects are great, too. In versus mode, you can even still taunt your opponent by making noises using your controller when it’s not your turn. That feature was an old favorite of mine from the previous game.

I’ve only played Everybody’s Golf for a few days. This post isn’t meant to be an overall review. The only reason that I wrote this was to put something online that clearly stated that local multiplayer does work in this game.

Everybody’s Golf is a blast. What sets it apart from other games is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously compared to traditional sports games. It’s probably one of the most chill games you can play on a game console. I am impressed that this whimsical classic lives on.

While writing this post, I did tweet Sony about this. I tweeted: “@PlayStation Sony, why did you label Everybody’s Golf PS4 as 1-player on the game box? Almost didn’t buy it due to that. It DOES have local “vs” mode, and I love it! You need to make local multiplayer ability abundantly clear on the packaging.”

Everybody's Golf

Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2 for PS2 – Activate Rumble

I was browsing the local flea market yesterday and stumbled upon an old classic. Ready 2 Rumble Round 2 boxing for the old PlayStation 2 (PS2). I have fond memories of this fun old boxing game. It was released back in 2000! 17 years ago. Wow. Regardless, the gameplay and characters are hilarious.

I bought the game on the cheap, and went about playing it with my friend last night. For the life of us, we could not figure out how to activate the rumble ability. I performed countless searches on my phone and my computer to find the answer. Promising links all around, but when I went to a page, I was never presented with the answer. It was so frustrating. We simply could not find the answer. My friend and I both tried every combination of buttons on the controller, seemingly to no avail.

Eventually, there was a breakthrough. We figured it out, and I have the answer. I’m going to present the solution here in a clear, simple form so that others who are searching the Internet for this answer can find it here.

Here’s the deal!

When you have the full RUMBLE letters, press R1 and R2 at the same time. Rumble mode is activated. Once you are in rumble mode and your boxing gloves are glowing white, press and hold the SQUARE and TRIANGLE buttons simultaneously. While holding square and triangle, jostle the left analog joystick. That will unleash the hyperactive punching and uppercut fury in rumble mode.

There you have it. Plain and simple. You’re welcome, Internet.

People Still Talk on the Phone

There is a misconception in the technology podcasting circuit that I would like to take issue with. That belief is that people generally no longer talk on the phone. I have heard this on tech podcasts countless times in recent years. Inevitably, a guest host will ask, “Who actually talks on the phone anymore?” They are trying to sell the incorrect assumption that in the era of modern smartphones, that those phones are not used for voice calls anymore. When the question is asked, virtually everyone on the panel agrees that people don’t engage in voice calling anymore at all.

That is absurd. Everybody talks on the phone. Yes. Even in 2017. I certainly do myself. I also see it happening around me all the time. All the time!

The hosts of these tech shows are so out of touch with reality that it has begun to irritate me. They spend most of their days surrounded by others in the field of technology — talking with journalists and other podcasters about the latest and greatest thing, and what is coming next. They live in a bubble without much interaction from “normal” consumers or users.

These tech folks also tend to live in or around Silicon Valley, or elsewhere in California. The state in which these podcasters live, I believe, plays into their thinking that people don’t talk on the phone anymore. I will explain.

In California (and many other states) it is illegal to drive while talking on the phone without using a hands-free device. People are ticketed for holding a phone up to their ear while driving down the road. Where I live, it is not illegal to do that. In fact, here it is so common to see people talking on the phone in their car that I see it happening in close to half of the cars around me at any given time. That’s not even an exaggeration!

When I’m driving to work at 7:30 in the morning, nearly half of the drivers in traffic are holding a phone up to their ear. Who are they talking to at 7AM? I’d like to know the answer to that. If anyone called me at that hour, I wouldn’t even answer. That aside, my point is that I see people around me every day that are talking on the phone, and not just in their cars. People in my office often sit outside and talk on their phones during lunch every day.

In the real world, most people are talking on their phones, at least to some degree.

Some of these tech journalists and podcasters need to get out of their echo chambers and talk to some real people sometime. Better yet, call one of them on the phone. I bet they will be more than happy to talk.

One Year Later

Hello again.

This is my first blog post since August 2016. It’s been over a year. An absurd amount of time, I do admit. A lot has happened in the course of a year. I’ve been very lazy about posting anything to my blog.

Despite my perceived laziness, I have jotted down a list of topics that I want to write about. I haven’t written on those topics because I wanted to first acknowledge the fact that I’ve been lazy and haven’t posted for a year.

Although I haven’t penned any posts as of late, I have methodically maintained this site, its installations, and plugins. To be honest, it’s nearly become more of a chore than a pleasure these days to maintain it to a relatively modern standard.

I’ll cite a couple of examples of changes that I’ve made:

With the help of a WordPress plugin, I ran a spell check across all of the past blog posts that I’ve written. In the early days, I composed text in the web browser, and let me tell you, the spell check in browsers has traditionally been quite bad. These days I use Word or Google Docs to write the posts. The spell check plugin that I ran this year found many misspellings in old posts. I corrected all of the errors that were discovered.

Not long ago, I removed the PrintFriendly plugin. I found it to be a handy tool when I first installed it many years ago, but over time the updates became far too frequent. I remember once in a single span of a week there were three or four minor revisions to the plugin. I finally got fed up and deleted it entirely. A simple plugin to manage the printing of a page doesn’t need that many revisions. It either works, or it doesn’t. No one is printing my posts, and if they are, they can figure it out for themselves.

Again, hello. I haven’t forgotten my blog. I’ll write something again soon. All the best!

A Pizza Bowl Of Toppings

Over the years, pizza chains have exhausted the list of possibilities of gimmicks to create a new form of pizza. Every few months a restaurant invents some slight modification to lure customers to order your next pizza from them. Pizza Hut is probably the most active player in this practice.

Do you remember the stuffed crust pizza? When it came out, they advertised it as “the pizza that you eat backwards.” I doubt that anyone actually ate it that way. Now that concept has been expanded to cheesy bites pizza, bacon stuffed pizza, and now hot dog crust pizza. I must say, the hot dog infused pizza crust both looks and sounds pretty nasty. I’ve never tried it.

A long time ago, my brother came up with a great new idea. It’s brilliant in its simplicity!

The idea: A bowl of toppings. Yes, a pizza bowl! It could rival the burrito bowl. It would be just a bowl full of toppings! Everything but the bread. I’d order one in a heartbeat.

Imagine sitting down to a bowl filled with a hint of tomato sauce, a hefty wad of cheese, and any toppings that you like on your pizza. Personally, I’d go for pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms. It sounds delicious!

Sure, such a pizza bowl is going to cost more than your average pizza. After all, it’s everything but the bread. The crust is easily the cheapest and most filling ingredient in making a pizza. If a pizza bowl can be priced reasonably, I say go for it. Why not? They’ve already stretched every other gimmick to the limit.

Somebody bring on the pizza bowl!

Night of the Lanyard

Lanyard is a misguided word.

Two years ago, I donned a neck strap with my company logo that displayed my employee ID badge. I rarely wear it. It is a thick cloth material that is rather warm on my neck in the summer months. These days, I wear my employee ID badge on my waist.

Once upon a time, I was wearing my neck strap, and a co-worker friend of mine walked up to me and said, “Oh, you have a lanyard.” I looked left and right, trying to figure out what he was talking about. I asked him what he meant. He explained that he was referring to the thing that I was wearing around my neck.

I don’t want to come across as being stupid, but I did not know what the word “lanyard” meant until that day, two years ago. I’m sure I’ve heard and read that word before that day, but it did not resonate at the time.

I take issue with the word “lanyard.” I very much dislike it.

It is a stupid word. When I hear the word “lanyard,” I think of an old haunted plantation. That is how the word resonates with me. It sounds like a word from a horror movie. It doesn’t sound like a word to describe something around your neck.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about this on Twitter. I tweeted: “Night of the Lanyard.” I’m sure that came across as completely random. I’m sure that nobody knew what I was talking about, but it was a joke in my own head.

The word is downright creepy.

There has to be another word we can use. If not, let’s create a new word for a strap around your neck. “Lanyard” is the most misguided word I can think of in the English language. I don’t approve of it at all. Let’s dispose of it.

Dishwashing the Keyboard

This post is long overdue. No one is going to read this, so I’ll give you the short, short version.

I spilled coffee into my keyboard. The right half stopped functioning.

I read blog posts insisting that you can put a keyboard in the dishwasher.

I did.

The left side continued working correctly after the wash, to my amazement, but it did not fix the problem.

The dishwasher miraculously didn’t damage the keyboard, but it didn’t fix the coffee corrupted problem, as I read that it would.

I bought a new one.

The end.