How I named my Guild

Many a year ago, around the early 1980’s I sat down in front of a Commodore 64 and read the following line:

“You are standing in front of a white house with a boarded up front door.  There is a mailbox nearby.”

The game was Zork.  I was hooked.  I discovered that day that I was a gamer and that I would be for life.  The years rolled on, games came and went.  Zork certainly was a life changer, as strange as that may sound.  Oh sure there were other games that shaped my gaming; Bard’s Tale, Ultima, Dragon Warrior, Temple of Apshi, Mortal Kombat; just to name a few.

In the early 90’s I was introduced to an online game called Kingdom of Drakkar.  You can read a fair bit about it here: Kingdom of Drakkar.  Whoah!  This game was super cool!  I could jump into a game that other people also were in and actually talk to them in real time!  I could also join a group called a guild!  This was more or less like an online “family”.  It was a group of people who liked to take on tasks and hunts together.  This was certainly my kind of game!  (I still play it to this day – yes, Kingdom of Drakkar is still online but more on this game a little later.).

Then came along Evercra.. er.. I mean EverQuest.  This one too had guilds.  I tried my hand at running a guild, I have after all, been running a 3 year long Dungeons and Dragons campaign.  How hard could it be to run and orchestrate a group of players in an online game?  It really wasn’t too difficult but the most challenging aspect was that not everyone was on at the same time.  That caused me to start playing at some odd hours because there were some players that I really enjoyed playing with.

Eventually World of Warcraft came along.  I guess I’ve been playing it pretty much since vanilla (that’s just over 8 years).  I’ve run a total of 7 guilds in WoW.  I’ll admit that none of them have been what mainstream players would call “Uber” or “Leet”.  They have been mostly small, friendly, and laid back.

Yes, yes, there have been other games that I’ve played, some I still log into, others I’ve wiped from my system to never dream of returning to.


Remember a few lines above I mentioned that I would return to the topic of Kingdom of Drakkar?  Okay, this is it:

I do a hand-full of graphics for that game.  It’s a 2D retro styled game.  To be fair it’s really a game that is rich in story and in background, and the graphics have simply stayed at the era in which it was created.  More or less.  Keep in mind Kingdom of Drakkar was originally called Realm and came out in 1984 as a text MuD (that’s Multi-User Dungeon), and the name was changed in 1989 to Kingdom of Drakkar (that’s when the textual Mud was tossed and a graphical interface was coded in).  It’s 2013 as I type this.  Yes, this game is almost 30 years old.

Why that tangent?  To simply explain the graphics.  They started out as 8-bit graphics and are now 24-bit (those are the ones that I do for it).  I’ve done 90% of the ground terrains (stuff like water, grass, lava, dirt roads, dungeon floors, etc), as well as several items and a small handful of monsters.

The reason I’m going into detail here about Kingdom of Drakkar is to share with you the personal connection I have to the game.  I also want to share with you the connection it has with World of Warcraft.

Wherever I go somewhere and run into a gamer I try to spread the word about Drakkar.  It’s a small community and word of mouth goes a long way.  I let them know, just as I am about to let YOU know, that I’m almost always logged into the Drakkar lobby (feel free to download the game, log in and say hi).  As a result of my connection to Drakkar, I also try to embed it into various places.  I may go to the public library and go to Drakkar’s website and leave it there, same thing on demo computers at places like Best Buy and Walmart.  Stuff like that.

SO when it came time to rename an old guild I had in Warcraft, I figured what would be a better name than <DRAKKAR> ?

And thus it came to be that <DRAKKAR> is the guild name.  It’s on the Fizzcrank server (Alliance) if you want to drop by and check it out.  We are level 25, have most of the guild achievements, but get this.. we are only 5 active players.  That’s all we have.  Five.  Getting in is very difficult, it’s pretty much invite only, but to anyone who plays the game and knows who I am in Kingdom of Drakkar, well.. You may very well be a good candidate for joining if you so desire.

Oh, and for those on the Horde side, we have a guild on the same server for you as well, <RAKKARD>.

See what I did there?

So with any game out there, look for that guild, you never know, it may very well be me.  Say hi, let me know that you read this article and we can team up to take on any baddies out there!

10 Horror Apps You Must Have For Your Smartphone

I’ve got an iPhone and I love it.  To be honest, I don’t really use it as a phone; I use it more for the apps than anything else.  Yes, yes, I have Angry Birds, Tiny Towers, Pocket Frogs and other silly games, but that’s not what we are going to talk about today.  No.  No, today I want to share with you some of the more fun Horror Apps that I’ve run across, and the best thing.. They are all going to be FREE!  However, to be fair, some of what I am going to share with you will also have a paid version of the app as well, so be sure to look for the one that is free (or cough up the little bit it does cost ’cause the apps I’m about to show you are hellicool!).

Also.. I’m not going to provide links to these because I really have no idea which smartphone you may have; Iphone or Android; to find them, just go to your favorite store and look for them by title.
I can’t say any one is better than the next, but they do get the most use of any of the other apps I’ve tried. Here they are in no particular order:
Dead Runner

This app is a game of sorts.  Have you ever had that dream where you are running through the woods and something sinister is chasing you?  That’s this game.  You are in a dark and eerie forest.  Within each of the trees around you are twisted souls that whisper to you, telling you to run as fast as your legs will carry you.  There is something evil in those woods that crawls closer to you as each moment passes by.  You simply run as far as you can without being caught.


Zombie Smash

Another game, but perhaps one of the best free zombie games that I’ve tried.  This is a side-tilted game where you use your thumbs to flick zombies away from your house.  Flick them up and away or raise them high into the air and smash them down upon the ground and watch them explode in a mass of gore.  There are several weapons that you are able to unlock as the game progresses, rocks, guns, soccer balls, even debris from outer space.  The objective is to keep them from attacking your house.  Just beware of Bruno, the super zombie!


Shoot to Kill

You have gone to the Seventh Level of Hell with a shotgun.  You stand in a pentagram and are able to rotate your character around pointing at different demons that come at you from the darkness.  As you progress up the levels of Hell, demons get tougher, but you also get slightly more powerful guns.


Finger Slayer

This is a reaction game.  Remember that hand slapping game you played as a kid where you put your hands out, palm up, and your friend put their hands on top of yours, palm down, and you tried to quickly slap the top of their hand?  It’s a little like that, but not really.  You place your finger on the screen with an image of a guillotine and a timer begins.  Suddenly the guillotine will drop and you must remove your finger before it gets chopped!


Werewolf Locator

This one is not exactly a game, but it is a really cool app.  First off it will tell you what phase the Moon is in.  Secondly it will sweep a radar searching for Werewolves.  Yes, on the surface it would appear that you can only use it once, as werewolves only show up during the full moon, and well.. the full moon happens once a month.  Ahh.. but there is a ‘cheat code’ function that allows you to enter in a combination of three numbers, and with that you can enter in 1,1,1 to have a “fake full moon cheat” active any time you wish!  You can also enter in 6,6,6 to see where the Devil himself is roaming!  Some others that you will just have to enter in for yourself to see what they do are:  0,6,9  8,0,8  and 1,0,1  are just a few.  If you find a vampire or zombie code, let me know!


Haunted Manor – Lord of Mirrors

I-Spy type game with puzzles.  Okay, you are trapped in a haunted house.  Several ghosts, a few of which are not happy that you are there, inhabit the house.  The objective is to move from area to area, from room to room, searching for items and clues and ultimately a piece of a broken mirror.  Once all the mirror pieces are found and put back together then you are able to escape the house.  While the game is incredibly fun, the free version only contains a few rooms to explore.


Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins Gold Knights

I can remember pumping quarter after quarter into this damn machine at the local gas station when I was a kid.  Now I find myself playing it endlessly again, thankfully it’s not costing me twenty-five cents each go around this time.  This is pretty much just like the arcade game from the 1980’s but with a few tweaks to make it flow a little better.  You are a knight tasked to go from one end of the screen to the other.  Zombies, flying things, and other monsters keep getting in your way, and you better be careful because you will get your armor knocked off leaving you in just your undies!


101+ Horror Stories

Simply put, this is just over 101 Horror Stories that you can read.  Yeah, the text it kindav tiny on an iPhone, but you can resize the text.  These are mostly classic horror stories from about 30 or so authors.  A small sampling of authors:  H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allen Pow, Henry James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Ambrose Bierce.


Blood Booth

I love taking pictures.  Seriously, I have about 19 photo apps on my phone, but Blood Booth is perhaps the most horrific.  Take a photo (or load one from your camera roll) and apply all kinds of fun effects, from nails to splatters of blood to funky glasses.  You can even add captions.  I’ve used it a few times to make a stupid little horror comic (I love the caption feature).  Once you have your photo to the perfection of gore, you can save it to your camera roll or upload it directly to Facebook or Twitter (provided you have those apps installed).


Hungry Shark Night

Yep!  An app based on the movie!  Yeah, yeah, the movie was kindav lame but the apps is just too bloody to NOT be cool!  You don’t play the role of silly tourist trying to get away from the sharks and find a way to stop them.  You are playing the role of the shark!  You must swim around and eat schools of fish and silently stalk the dangling legs of swimmers!  Yeah it’s a goofy game, but it’s fun to see that blood explode all through the water when you chomp down!


These are by no means all of the horror apps out there, but they are damn fun to goof around with when I have some down time.  What are some that you have run across?

Earth Defense Defence Force: Insect Armageddon

I’ve got a lot of games sitting around.  I mean a lot.  Some are crummy, some are flat out fantastic.  I wanted to do a review of one that I consider to be a sleeper-game.  To me a sleeper-game is one that was super fun but that very few people actually know about.  To apply the same term to a movie see Fight Club – yeah it’s a big hit now but it flopped big time in the movie theater.  That’s a sleeper.  Okay, I am starting to digress so here we go..

Imagine waking one day to discover that you were the size of an ant.  No, scratch that… You are still the same size you have always been.  Let’s start over.  Imagine waking one day to discover that ants were the size of convoy trucks, bees the size of helicopters, or spiders the size of skyscrapers!


Yeah, we’re talking about little monsters that have become larger than life:

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon


Earth Defense Force, originally presented as a co-op arcade game, was ported to the Super Nintendo in 1991.  Aliens, the Azyma Empire, built a base on the moon, and the Earth Defense Force is sent in to kill and take out the weapon that threatens to destroy earth.

Global Defense Force is the sequel, this one coming out for the PlayStation 2 in 2007.  The aliens are no longer around, but instead players fight off giant insects.

Earth Defense Force 2017 is the 3rd and was also released in 2007, this time for the Xbox 360.  Taking place in the year 2017, aliens have once again returned in their UFOs and this time they have brought giant ants with them.

The latest incarnation of the game is Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, made by Vicious Cycle Software.  It was released on July 22nd of 2011, and is available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.  It is a first person shooter with a storyline that is not too different than the previous games, in this go around it is an infestation that is bigger and nastier than ever seen before.

In E.D.F.:IA you defend the city of New Detroit, even if you have to blow up every building in the process.  The game features over 300 weapons to find and use (sniper rifles, grenade launchers, energy weapons, and rocket launchers are but just a few).  You can also choose from 4 different types of classes (or as they call it, armors).

Jet Armor: This armor allows you to move fast, uses energy to refuel weapons, and of course allows you to fly.  The downside, it provides very little protection.

Trooper Armor: This is the standard armor but allows use of more weapons.  It has an upgradeable feature which makes it a tough unit to knock down.

Tactical Armor: This will allow you to deploy mines, radar dishes, and turrets.  As you progress through the game, more advanced items become available for this class.

Battle Armor: Want to take on the role of taking out massive amounts of bugs at once?  This is the class for you.  It can equip the most powerful weapons in the game and can also discharge an area wide electric jolt (chain-lightning for you magic users) causing damage to everything nearby.

With technology having advanced in our consoles, this game supports up to 6 players and can be played online.  There is a survival mode that pits players against unending swarms of bugs (thumbs will get tired in this mode, trust me).  Don’t think that these are your garden variety bugs either.  No, these guys are enhanced with all types of outer space sci-fi fun.  The following bugs are but just a few of the baddies you can expect to encounter:

Wolf Spider: Fast, jumps and hunts in packs

Daddy Long Legs: Slow, shoots plasma and lasers

Bomb Spider: Slow, launches Ticks

Ticks: Medium sized, can explode

Wasp: Flys, spits venom, and can eat you

Black Ant: Tunnels, hunts in packs

If you are looking for something mindless to play, Insect Armageddon will certainly fit the bill.  The storyline does not really develop too much, but then again why should there be a deep story when all you are supposed to do is kill anything and everything that moves?  There really is no strategy involved, just get out of the way, and kill.  It’s really that simple.

Not only do the bad guys explode in buckets of gore, but almost every building can be laid to waste as well.  When I say laying waste to buildings, I’m not talking about battle damage, I’m talking about total collapse to the ground destruction.

This is not a high budget game, but it still provides hours of fun, simply running around and blasting away at all the ginormous pixels on the screen.  Throw some friends into the mix, order up a pizza, and you have yourself a fun Tuesday night!

This is not a rendition of Starship Troopers, but you will face giant insects, massive mechs, and the occasional UFO.  So the bottom line is, if you are into “fire and forget”, want to have a choice of hundreds of different weapons, and mindlessly blow up everything, this game is a must have.

Larger than life monsters just don’t get much bigger than this.

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is rated T for Teen.

The Big Lebowski Limited Edition BluRay

F#$! it Dude.  If you are over the age of 25 and you even remotely have your finger on the pulse of what is a good movie, then you’ve already seen The Big Lebowski.   This Limited Edition BluRay version does not sport much in the way of new extras (yes, I own 2 previous versions of this movie on DVD – and each one was purchased specifically for it’s extra features).  Don’t get me wrong, it does have extras, there is just not that much more on here that has not been previously released on past DVDs.  Of course the movie itself is beautiful on BluRay, so my true recommendation is to say “F#&! it, Dude, buy it anyways.”



Features that we have seen before; and this WOULD be a valid reason to have this (they are now all together on one disc):

  • Jeff Bridges Photo Book: Exclusive shots taken on the set of The Big Lebowski by Jeff Bridges himself.
  • The Dude’s Life: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi and John Turturro take a look back at their performances and their delivery of the Coen Brothers’ dialogue that became classic movie lines.
  • The Dude Abides- The Big Lebowski Ten Years Later: A conversation with the cast about the film’s cult classic status.
  • Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams- The Dream Sequences of the Dude: Featurette on the making of the surreal sequences in the film.
  • The Making of The Big Lebowski
  • The Lebowski Fest- An Achiever’s Story: An in-depth look at the popular Lebowski Festival, formed by the legion of fans in honor of the film.
  • An Introduction: Featuring Mortimer Young.
  • Photo Gallery
  • Interactive Map (this is by far one of my favorite extra features; you can actually click a location and it will “zoom” in to where that scene was filmed.


Limited Edition BluRay?  What makes it a limited edition?  What won’t it come with in the future?  Well.. The case itself is adorned with the artwork that you see in the feature image as posted above, the back is an image of The Dude’s Rug.  It’s actually pretty cool; but you also have within what Universal is calling a “Digibook” – a 28 page book that features stills from the production, quotes, an interview with Jeff Dowd (that’s the guy who inspired to Coen Brothers character ‘The Dude’ ), and a Duderology quiz (How many times does The dude say “man”? – stuff like that).  That’s pretty cool.  Universal has not stated when a regular edition will come out, nor have they said if the above packaging will be changed for it.


BluRay special features always get me giddy.  I love em.  Shoot, it’s the reason I buy the BluRay to begin with!  The Big Lebowski does not disappoint when it comes to extras.  Yes, these were worth the price of admission.  You get:

  • Scene Companion: A picture in picture mode that features cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more during key scenes.
  • Mark It Dude: On-screen counter that keeps track of all the “F-Bombs”, “Dudes” and “Dude-isms” in the film.
  • The Music of The Big Lebowski: Instantly identifies the songs heard while watching the film, and allows the creation of custom playlists.
  • Worthy Adversaries- What’s My Line Trivia: Trivia that tests your Lebowski knowledge by finishing lines of dialogue during the film. Play as Walter or The Dude or in two-player mode against friends.
  • U-CONTROL – let’s you access special features (making of, behind the scenes, etc) while you are watching the movie itself.
  • pocket BLU – you can use your mobile device to interface with your bluray player to access the special features and watch them directly on your mobile device.
  • BD-LIVE – this is pretty cool provided your BluRay player is connected to the internet.  You can check out updated special features when more are added instead of being stuck with only the ones that came on the bluray disc itself.
  • Mobile-To-Go – toss the movie onto your mobile device, ipad, itouch, smartphone, laptop, whatever.  Watch The Dude anywhere!
  • uHEAR – Hit the pop up menu and click on the uHear button and the movie skips back a few seconds and turns on the subtitles just for the patch of dialogue you missed.



Apple to make a cheap IPhone?

Rumors will be rumors, but when trustworthy sources state that Apple is looking into releasing a less expensive version of their famous IPhone, it makes you wonder why they have not gone this route sooner.  The International Data Corporation (IDC) has stated that the “mobile phone market grew 2.4% year over year in the third quarter of 2012” with the “worldwide smartphone market vendors shipping 179.7 million units“.  Of that, Apple’s IPhone made up 29.6 million of those units.

Some would argue the small fraction of that unit from Apple had to do with the operating system (some people simply prefer the Android), but others would say it’s everything to do with price.  The average IPhone price is (brand new, off the shelf, no contract) about $500.00.  Yes, you can wait a few months and the price WILL drop, but I’m talking about Day 1, Hour 1.  That’s a fairly good chunk of cash for most of us.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you Apple is a greedy company, but they do want your money.  Hey, that’s business after all isn’t it?  I mean.. That’s what a business does, it tries to get you to open your wallet and fork over that green!  Apple, it seems, may have finally realized that they can make even more $$ by making one simple move; make a less expensive version of their IPhone.

It’s something that we have heard rumors about for a long time, but now more than ever it makes financial sense for them to release such a product.  We have claims that Apple is in the testing phase of the Iphone 6 (and the iOS7), and as stated above our sources claim that this “lower-end iPhone.. could debut as early as late 2013“.

NOW.. Let’s take it a step further and tie it into the TracPhone’s StraightTalk line.. A cheap iPhone that’s going to give me unlimited talk, text, and internet for $45.00 a month?  I may very well take that deal!

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