Slots – Pharaoh’s Way (iOS) Review

Developer/Publisher: Cervo Media GmbH || Overall: 9.0/10

Hardware Used: iPhone 5 with iOS 6

Slots are one of your basic casino stereotypes.  Old ladies clutching their purses, chasing the 20 dollars they get from their nickel bet…  It’s not that exciting to think about.  In fact, it’s probably a bit comical.

Video slots are much different, though, and appeal to a new generation that is very technologically and entertainment-focused.  Video slots open up a whole new realm of possibilities such as bonus games, screwing the gambler through incorrect math programming, and enchanting the player with even more lights and sounds than mechanical slots typically offered.  Themes also work a lot better with video slots.  Star Trek slots, anyone?  Who wouldn’t want Shatner’s soothing frequencies spurted every time you lost a spin?

Slots – Pharaoh’s Way is basically going to be the best video slots fix you’re going to get for free or otherwise.  I personally downloaded this on iOS 6 with an iPhone 5 and have become enamored with the fake gambling experience it provides.  If the title of the game wasn’t obvious enough, it is an Ancient Egypt-themed slots game.

The game contains all of the things that make actual video slots fun and exciting to play.  Fast plays, smooth animation, high quality art that fits in with the theme, and lots of annoying noises.  The first thing I did was turn off the audio, of course.

It should be obvious that if you don’t like the concept of video slots, this game is probably not for you.  I would say that slots in general do not appeal to me, at least until I played video slots a couple of years ago.  Video slots, to me, provide more “gameplay” opportunities when it comes to bonus games – and boy are they (usually) exciting.  Slots – Pharaoh’s Way replicates the exciting feeling of normal video slots by providing unique bonus games (depending on the slot game you are playing) and free spins.

If you break down the goal of the game to its very basic element, you are doing one thing: Earning Diamonds.  These Diamonds are used in grinding levels to unlock more slots to play.  Diamonds are earned through normal slot play and each progressive level has a substantial percentage more to get to the next level, which promotes playing more/upping your bet to get further along.  Playing straight through, the feeling you are grinding out levels doesn’t settle in until about level 13 or so, and depending on how many Credits (the game’s currency) you have, it is fairly influencing to up your bet and earn Diamonds at a faster, even reckless, pace.

Your most reliable source of Diamonds comes from your initial bet at a rate of x2 what your bet is.  If you’re betting 10 Credits per slot play, you gain 20 Diamonds, if you bet 100, you get 200, etc.  More often than not, at least one of the spaces on your slot board will be bonus Diamonds which also increase at a rate of x20 what you are betting.  In this case, you gain 1000 bonus Diamonds for a 50 Credit bet, and so on.  That’s only if you hit bonus Diamonds in a space, and that can sometimes prevent you from winning more Credits depending on its placement.

When your next level is about 150,000 diamonds away (at level 21) you’re almost going to be hoping for the bonus Diamonds more than anything else you could get.  Essentially, when you are using Credits to win more Credits, what you are actually doing is using Credits to get more Diamonds, and being as efficient as possible in earning Diamonds becomes the real intent.  Earning Credits only allows you to have a chance of earning more Diamonds.  There are also various rewards and bet amounts unlocked for each progressive level, which can supplement your Credit gain/usage.

What I began to realize is that earning Credits is paltry compared to getting Diamonds, and in the end Credits almost mean nothing as the game forces you to keep parity with your growing Credit pool and level by upping your bet to earn more Diamonds at a higher rate.  No matter how many Credits you have, you will practically always have the “same” amount of spins you started out with as the winnings all scale linearly.  The only thing that increases exponentially is the barrier to level up.

Sure, you could play for 1 credit each bet while you have 3,000 sitting in your pool, but what the hell is the point when there’s absolutely NOTHING else to do with said Credits other than to earn Diamonds with them?  In a sense, it combats the inflation that the developers no doubt predicted would happen with Credits, and unless you want to be stuck at the level 20 range for the rest of your life and never unlock another slot, you’re going to be upping your bet.

My personal strategy for betting with Credits has been to always have “100” spins available to me before I go bankrupt.  If I fall below the 1,000 Credit mark, I would lower my bet to 10 Credits so that I could work my way back up to a comfortable level for my currently-comfortable bet of 50 Credits.  However, when I get up to 5,000 Credits I’m sure I’ll at least up it to 100 or 250 Credits.

Design-wise, all of this makes sense.  When you actually play it, however, you begin to beg for variety.  Playing the slots game proper is good enough, and every time you win a bet, you get the option to play a simple card game where you can guess the color or suit of the card and gain twice or four times what you won in the slot game.  This bonus game is fun for a while, but ends up being less enticing as the stakes get higher, since it really is not in your favor, and doesn’t even net you any Diamonds directly.  You’ll probably not want to waste time playing it at all after a while, regardless of the fact that the card game has better odds than the actual slots game at the end of the day.

New slots open every 10 levels with new artwork, a different bonus game, different payouts, and slightly different rules/spaces.  For example, the second slot is only 3 reels, but every consecutive 3-way match is counted.  On the 5 reel slots, which are the first and third slots, you have 25 to 50 lines in many different random combinations that are harder to predict when you win.  The idea is that the more progressed slot has the best payouts, but you might visit the previous ones to get a change of scenery every now and then.

Each slot has its own bonus game which throws in a little variety every now and then, but they are barely rewarding.  One of the bonus games named River of Luck relies on your… “luck” to guess whether or not the next number in a sequence of numbers will be higher or lower.  If you know anything about statistics, it might be an easy decision process, but it certainly does take a long time to get through the game, not to mention the payouts are almost laughable for the amount of time you spend on it until you guess about 8 times in a row correctly (which almost never happens).  The bonus games don’t typically hit often either, which adds to the disappointment.  The monotony of constantly pressing the “spin” button can be subsided with the AutoPlay option, but then it REALLY feels like you’re doing nothing, so I use it sparingly — only when I’m jerking it.  Other bonus games are pretty simple, like “finding a match” and clicking cat idols until you click two of the wrong ones.  Meh.

I think there is a missed opportunity here with the way the game is made as far as bonuses go.  If they made some mechanic for spending a certain amount of Credits and being able to play a bonus game that awarded Credits, Diamonds, or even both outside of the random chance of the Slot games, it would be a lot more fun to play for long sessions.  Even if they were rehashed bonus games that you already unlocked for the slots you are playing, it would be a step in the right direction.  As it is, you simply plug away and hope that you get to the next level range before the turn (pun!) of the century.  But I suppose that’s where buying Credits might alleviate this frustrating aspect of the grind.

Every 4 hours you are able to collect free bonus Credits.  When the four hours are up your phone will light up and notify you that you are able to collect bonus Credits, thus allowing for the timer to restart.  Your bonus will increase the more levels you gain, but in the end you’ll probably burn through it all in about a couple of spins regardless of how much you actually get, since your normal bet will keep increasing along with the bonus.  If you are really enthralled with the experience, you can always buy more Credits.  The option to buy Credits isn’t terrible, but you come to think about the philosophy behind a game like this.  By no means is Slots – Pharaoh’s Way a major offender of the “Free2Play” format as you can get by just fine without ever paying one red cent to get ahead.  At some point, though, you’ll need to up your bets considerably to match the teetering-on-the-insane Diamond grind.

Taking a long, hard look at business practices for one throwaway game might be a waste of energy, but this isn’t the only game with this model.  “Free2Play” games create unique products that may not have otherwise been available, and I know that I wouldn’t be playing this game at all if I had to pay anything to play it.  With so many options for games nowadays, getting someone to even spend time with your game is particularly valuable when you can make more money than you ever could per player by creating the capability to spend absurd amounts on it on the back end.

At the end of the day, Slots – Pharaoh’s Way is what it is, regardless of the philosophy involved.  Having a four page review on what is “simply” a slots game is probably overdoing it but as soon as I started playing I knew I had a lot to say about it.  The game sets out to do what it does with almost perfect execution, and the only glaring flaw is that the game lacks variety and more of a meta-game.  I don’t only want to progress, but I want to be able to play a random cool game every hundred spins so I can be excited to do another hundred spins to play that quick, fun mini-game without taking too much focus off the slots game itself.  It would be a detriment to the point of the game to have a whole suite of mini-games that are always accessible – but there is a happy medium that should be attained.  Otherwise, all you’re “doing” is grinding the Diamond counter, and not playing a game.  It is “drop-in-a-bucket” gameplay at an extreme.

From what I gather, this game is actually updated every couple of weeks to add more slots and adjust payout balance or math errors.  I’m not sure how engaging this is for people who just start out the game, since it appears you have to grind at least 50 levels before you even get to a “new world” which may or may not be available at this point.  To know the game is supported is nice, however.  But it would do wonders for the game if it had some sort of “news” in the game to keep people up to date with what’s going on.

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Girls on Dating Sites

This entry is part 9 of 13 in the series Dave's Breakdown

I sometimes scour the internet for all things hilarious.

More recently, that includes dating sites — especially for choice quotes.  My God, what a treasure trove I have stumbled upon — and I only look at the girl’s profiles.  I have yet to even try to look at what guys say and do on sites like Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, etc.  However, having a decent exposure to these web sites and the people that tend to be on them, I have formulated theories about what these girls actually say (or do) on them.

A lot of times, they just say the same things.  I think we can establish that there’s a few things that girls say or do on dating sites that is either really telling or just doesn’t need to be mentioned on their profiles.  And you would think that guys would be bad — yeah, well girls are bad too!

– The girl is “Looking to have fun.”

She is looking to have sex.

– Her profile is blank and only has pictures.

She is looking to have sex, and pretty much just relying on her “sexy” pictures to get guys to message her.  Never mind having a personality or even beating around the bush — she just wants her bush to get beaten directly.  And have as very little effort as possible in doing so.

This also covers people who basically make no statement of who they are/what they do/anything that would actually make you be interested in who they are as a person.  It’s great if you’re “friendly” but I have no idea what that tells me about you.

– “I don’t have time to fill this out right now.”

I don’t see how anyone cares that you need to state that you don’t have time to fill this out “right now.”  It just shows their lack of effort, especially since they never seem to update their profile to remove the statement.  There really is just no point in having the statement at all — if they omitted it, nothing would be lost.  I don’t care you didn’t have time to fill it out a month ago when you established your profile — what’s happened to the time since then?  “Right now” seems like a very long time.

– She has a picture of her leaning down with her boobs/ass hanging out.

She is probably looking for sex, or to “reel you in” with her main picture so that you can click on her profile.  You can’t really see her face, all you see is boob, and that’s what gets guys to click it.  Then you realize the horrible truth that she’s unattractive 9 times out of 10.  The same goes for any other “provocative” shots they might have uploaded.

– Boobs, boobs, and more boobs.

Nothing screams out to me “I’m trashy” more than when girls have 8 pictures of themselves on their profile squeezing/positioning their boobs in such a way that misappropriates their actual size/shape and makes them more “sexually pleasing.”  The best thing about it is that they say “I’m looking for a man that likes me for me” (or some broken English variant of that) and they accompany that forlorn statement with trashy boob pictures.  Have we found a dichotomy?  I think so.

– Self-camera shots.

Hardly a “dating site” problem, but the overwhelming majority of pictures seem to be a “hey look at what kind of camera I have” mirror shot.  And most have cleavage anyway.

– Girls that complain about “guys that are shirtless”

The only reason a girl complains about seeing a guy shirtless is because they don’t appeal to them.  They say it anyway because most of the guys they look at are probably fooling them just like their boobs are fooling guys just as badly.  We all know that they actually like looking at topless dudes as long as they are hot, despite what they say.

– Pictures with friends

It’s nice to see that girls have friends, I guess.  What can be annoying is when there’s a group of her friends (how nice that she has friends), but apparently she doesn’t deem it necessary to say “Hey, I’m that one.”  I guess the intent here is to confuse people looking at their profile into thinking they are actually the “hotter” one when in reality they might not (aka aren’t) be.

– Pictures with “other guys”

I don’t know what they’re trying to prove by putting up pictures of them with “other guys.”  I think they’re trying to say something like “hey, I can get any guy I want” but in reality they don’t seem like they can.  At the very least it would carefully off-put at least some of the people that look at their pictures for whatever reason they might have.  If they’re going to put up pictures of them on a dating site with other dudes they might as well date that guy before trying their luck on a dating site.

– They say they are sarcastic, but don’t seem to understand what that means.

A lot of girls like to say they are sarcastic or like sarcasm.  But they do little to demonstrate that they actually know what it means or how they are supposedly “sarcastic” all the time.  Obviously there are some that know what it is, means, and can actually be described as such.  But most aren’t.

– They are a “nerd.”

Everyone is a damn nerd.  No, you are not a nerd because you have a laptop and are studying for a test.  In fact, many of the people who say they ARE nerds, list nothing that actually qualify as such.  Very seldom do you see anyone actually say they “are” a nerd when they actually are one.

– Horrendous spelling.

I’m sure guys are just as bad, but how can I possibly love anyone that leaves out random letters from the beautiful language we call English?  This is just one example of the travesty you can find:

“u r probably wonder why i dont look prettier like thee other girls tlk to but jus to tell u unlike most of the girls i got things going for myself nd GOD made me to b the way i am for my future so begore u start meassing me sayin im not ya type or im ugly save both of our time and do us both a fav and dont message me with tht bs!!”

Case in point.  Or should I say… cse n pnt

– That’s proooooobably a tranny…

A lot of times you might find a girl that… looks a little bit off.  Sometimes they go right out and say “I am transgendered/transsexual” or “I am NOT a tranny.”  I suppose I feel sorry for the latter, being that people THINK they are transsexual and ask them repeatedly enough that it has to be listed on the profile.

– Overweight is the new “thin.”

This doesn’t happen a whole lot, but there’s a certain segment of crazies out there that like to lie about their body type.  I mean, really?  I can see your picture.  You are not thin or “average” — you are at the very least “overweight” or “few extra pounds.”  Don’t try to pass yourself off as Average body type when you are obviously not.  I suppose I can be lenient and say that since most people nowadays are overweight, you could be classified as “average.”  However, there are a couple of cases where that is really just not the case.

– They complain about getting a lot of messages… but then they want you to write a paragraph in your message to them.

I get that girls probably get tons of messages from guys, especially if they are seemingly-attractive.  It sort of seems counter-productive that they complain about getting tons of these messages, but want you to “say something more than ‘hi’.”  However, this is a double-edged sword — I’m sure all of the people that they would actually want writing “more than hi” to them don’t need to in order to get a response from them.  Not to mention I’m sure that the guys on these sites aren’t very high quality either.

– Awful piercings/tattoos/make-up.

99% of the time when girls have any of the above, they make themselves look terrible.  And then we get close up shots or stupid “pucker face” pictures with their stupid double-cheek piercings.  Not saying that all girls look unattractive with certain piercings/tattoos/make-up, but just that most of them think they look better than they actually do when they show that stuff off.  Most of that stuff will just make me question their sanity.

– “This is my _th time on here”

Sorry it didn’t work out for you before, but that just makes me think you’re either incompatible or you have a propensity to attract weirdos and allow them to meet you or get personal with you to the point you need to delete your profile to get rid of them.

In the end, there’s only one thing that comes from all of the exposure to single, lonely girls looking for companionship/”fun” (aka sex)/friends.  And that is that I become depressed that there are so many stupid people who don’t know how to write, take pictures, or realize that their weird double cheek piercing is not attractive.  There is a genuine sense of sadness when seemingly nice people are looking for their “right one” and don’t seem to have been able to so far, but those are few and far between — considering most dating sites are littered with people I would never want to associate with, let alone letting them know I saw their profile.


The Sour Lemon Lady

This entry is part 25 of 26 in the series The Retail Report

A lady came and asked if there was a graduation tassel on hold for her and it was supposed to be at customer service for her. I said I didn’t have anything like that for her (asking her name and what kind it was supposed to be).  She said that she talked to the manager directly about it and she had gotten a call from “some girl with a fancy name” last week and told them to hold it, even though she had gotten it months before.  So I spent about 5 to 10 minutes trying to track down the manager (he wasn’t there), then asked if any of the gear representatives knew about any tassel on hold for this lady by the manager.  No one knew.

I eventually asked the gear department supervisor if she knew where the manager would put something like that and she said she didn’t know, so she called him, left him a message, and we waited for him to call.  In the mean time I went back and told the lady we don’t know anything about this item and I resumed to ask the lady for her number so we can call her back when we found out more info about it.

The manager calls during this time and says he didn’t know anything about it, so we ask the lady again who called her and asked her how she paid for it. She eventually says she did a phone order, which would still imply that a gear department rep would have helped her. The supervisor asked me if Web would have it, but I told her they would only have it if THEY did the web order, not if the lady had talked to the gear manager about it since they are COMPLETELY different departments with different procedures and managers. So the lady looked through her call log to see who called her, and it was the web department.

Once we found that out, I said I would call them, and then the lady accused me all of a sudden — “SEE YOU SHOULD HAVE CALLED THEM, SHE WAS TELLING YOU THAT WEB HAD DONE IT OVER AND OVER BUT YOU SAID NO NO NO NO”

All I could say was “Ummm…”  I eventually called Web and they brought down her stupid tassel and she left.




Scam Call From Local Exchange

I had some scammer call a number at work during the beginning of May saying how I had won some cruise or whatever and they want to give me tickets to fly anywhere in the US.

I kept asking “What?” and “Who is this?” and they kept repeating.  The lady had a terribly Mexican accent, so it was half-truth that I could barely understand her over the speakerphone.

All together, I made her wait around on the phone for like 10 mintues before I put her on mute and came back, pretending to be the “owner” of the phone.

As soon as I turned the phone off mute, I asked for their Full Company name, full name of the person calling, the city they are from, their web site, etc without giving any information at all on my end.

What I gathered, they are named:

“Local Exchange”  (pretty generic name, don’t you say?) and they are from San Dimas or Villaverde and “of course” they are from California.

I asked for their web site and she was very hesitant to give me anything and when I asked her again like 3 times, she said, “Of course we have a web site” and then hung up on me.

So, if you get a call from 909-575-1068, then you will know that it is a scam.  They have yet to call the number back, from what I know.  So that’s that.

As a result of this call, I wrote the following story for your enjoyment:


The Not So Returned Rental Book

This entry is part 23 of 26 in the series The Retail Report

On April 11, I had a customer today call me after talking to another co-worker of mine who was just finishing up with her shift.  He was calling regarding his rental textbook that he has but also “returned.”

Earlier when he was talking to my co-worker, he had said that he had the book still and wanted to return it but did not want to pay for the replacement fee.  She wrote his information down and said he would be coming in later this week to pay for the book.

So then, he called during the beginning of my shift and explained how he had actually returned said book, which is the Intro to Statistics, a non-serialized rental, which is a book without a specific number attached to it.

I explained to him that our system had shown that the book was not returned and that it would need to be paid for at the replacement price.  He went on to talk about how that is penalizing him for incompetence on our part because he is saying that he was not given a receipt and when he returned it to “the guy” who had said that he did not need a receipt.  I told him we were telling all of our cashiers to give receipts for any rentals returned.  I asked him if he knew who the cashier was and he said he didn’t know.  He kept repeating the same stuff over and over again, and I kept saying the same things, too.  I told him that the only way I can personally help is if he had a receipt, and otherwise I would have to have him talk to my manager about it.

He was not satisfied with that, and kept saying how it was a bureaucratic answer and basically didn’t see why he had to be penalized and kept saying the same thing over and over.  He kept saying he wasn’t given a receipt, when I told him that was the only way we’d be able to release the hold on his account, and kept repeating that asking if “it was sticking” to what I had been considering talking to him about it, to which I said, yes, but it was to not going to alleviate anything.  I asked if he had returned any other rentals along with the Intro to Statistics and said that he had returned some health book.  I told him that there would be no way that only one book from a transaction would show as returned if they were both returned, but then he spouted out more about bureaucracy again.

So, anyway, I tell him again if he would like to speak to my manager, he is able to and I gave him my manager’s extension as well as transferred him over to his voice mail once he was done talking to me.  He finally accepted the proposition and I did so.

He then proceeded to call about 5 or so minutes later, after I was telling my supervisor about the call.  I answered it, knowing that it was the same guy, but pretending like I didn’t know what just happened.  The guy asked specifically to see if my manager was in and I asked what it was regarding and if I could take a message since he was not going to be in until the next day.  He didn’t tell me his name that time, and he simply said he was a disgruntled student and was given “bad customer service” and “terrible answers” by two employees who work here and that he wanted to complain about “them” (which would most likely be my co-worker and myself) regarding his book situation, and to also solve the situation regarding his rental.

So, he came in on that Thursday and instead of dealing with anymore of his bull shit, my manager let him off the hook for the book.  I really wanted that guy to pay for being an asshole.  Turns out he was gay and said to apologize to me for being “a bitch.”

Okay, then.  Fuck you, you bitch.


Odin Sphere (PS2) Review

Developer: Vanillaware | Publisher: Atlus || Overall: 9.0/10

Warning: This review has spoilers since the game is like 5 years old at this point.

If ever a game has attempted to be Shakespearean in its story delivery, it is Odin Sphere.  Odin Sphere is a side-scrolling action beat-em-up game starring five different playable characters.  The story and how it is presented is very much the forefront on what is “unique” about this game, but the mechanics involved are also very robust and allows for a challenging experience whether or not you want one.

Without doing much research or knowing much about the game beforehand, if you dive right into it, you’ll probably be a little bit confused.  Confused because you start out the game as a little girl in the attic of the house she presumably lives in.  You’ll see a book, and then you’ll see a cat named Socrates.  Nothing really happens unless you start reading the book at which case you’ll begin the story of Gwendolyn, the daughter of the Demon Lord Odin.

My personal experience with the game began 2 or so years ago.  I had played the game quite a bit but never actually beaten Gwendolyn’s storyline, so when I had actually gotten through her book, it was quite intriguing to see the oh-so-dramatic events and the ending for Gwendolyn.

For the first 5 books, you will play characters who are somehow connected to the royalty of the world of Erion.  The five different characters go through the events of the story from their points of view, and will occasionally fight or interact with other characters you have controlled or will control later on.  Needless to say, the story itself is very non-linear and if you stick with it you will see an interestingly multifaceted story unveil before you.  The only thing that detracts from this are the boss battles in which you defeat bosses in different areas or under different circumstances, but still the same fight when all is said and done.  It feels kind of weird “killing” or severely debilitating the same dragon repeatedly, considering he had just been defeated or will be defeated again by another one of the characters you play in what seems like a day or two story-wise.

Besides the blatant “replay the same game 5 times” aspect of the game, which you really kind of do, they do toss in different mechanics for each of the characters you play with.  The different weapons and characters all have unique and different feels, and it keeps the gameplay more-or-less fresh as you go and play through the story again.  As for the mechanics itself, you will mostly be hitting the Square button over and over.  Jumping and the direction of the analog stick while you press the Square button affect the type of attacks you do, and it is a pretty standard combo fighting system.  There aren’t any huge combos to pull off, but most of the challenge in the game comes in the strategy in which you defeat the enemies that are laid out before you in each section.  Almost every character is able to parry attacks and perform knock-backs.  Gwendolyn, using a spear, can block and glide around the map.  Cornelius, using a sword, can block attacks and do a spinning attack in mid-air.  Mercedes, using a bow, can fly, charge her attacks, and use a unique magic spell.  Oswald can activate shadow powers and make all of his normal attacks hit around twice as hard and twice as fast for a short period of time.  Velvet, using chains, can attack all around her, charge an attack and swing across the map. Using each individual character’s strengths to your advantage is vital to defeating the challenges presented.

Each character has the same repertoire of magic “Psypher” attacks, but they are earned in a different order.  The essential purpose of these Psypher magics are to make the game easier for you — you will need to use them to defeat tons of enemies or defeat a boss you just had enough of instead of just spamming your basic attacks.  Basic attacks can also only be spammed to a certain point, as they are limited by a POW gauge.  The POW gauge will decrease as you use your basic attacks and then you’ll have to run around or stop attacking for a few seconds for the gauge to fill again.  If you fully deplete the POW gauge you will stun yourself for a good 4 to 5 seconds waiting for the gauge to fill to 100% again before being able to move.  A lot of the strategy you employ during the harder fights in the game rely on a careful balance of your attacks and trying to be conservative in your spams.  The game mechanics are fairly engaging and can be quite fun despite its simplistic approach.

What makes the game more of an Action RPG is obviously with its leveling and, to a lesser degree, alchemy system.  Your Psypher and your Character each have independent levels.  The main way to increase your levels is by the way you use Phozons.  Phozons are magical orbs that appear after you defeat an enemy.  You can choose to absorb the Phozons into your Psypher weapon or put a seed into the ground and after a certain amount of required Phozons, pick the fruit (or meat) that grows out of the ground.  You also have a limited storage menu so you’ll have to constantly be managing it as you play through each section.  The food that you can buy or grow in the game can also be used between levels to increase your hit points and gain more experience at a more efficient rate than just eating the food alone.  When you are able to access the Pooka Village, you can visit either of the two restaurants and have them cook up something using your food and adding some permanent hit points.  Using these restaurants are vital to increasing your characters stats — the natural hit point increases from leveling up are about half the amount you actually want to have by the end of each book… at least on Easy mode.

One of the things Odin Sphere has going for, or against it, is its difficulty.  I started playing the game on normal, and ended up dying so many times on shitty trash (non-boss) enemies that I changed the difficulty to Easy.  It was more-or-less smooth going from there, but there were still some tricky bosses that made me question whether or not I was still on Easy.  The bosses at the end of the game were also quite difficult for an “Easy” setting, which makes me wonder how hard the Normal and Hard settings actually would be.  It really made me question what kind of enjoyment people get out of dying over and over on games like this… it really isn’t that much fun to keep dying, but to each their own, I suppose.

The visuals are definitely one of the other unique aspects of this game.  Vanillaware is known for their awesome-looking 2D hand-drawn visuals that stray from what you normally see in gaming today.  They also like to draw chicks with huge boobs and sexy legs and little to nothing to cover it all.  Girls with less-emphasized features also exist in the game, so it’s not that “one-sided” as far as it goes.  Suffice to say, all of the chicks — even the queen of death — are all banging and who wouldn’t want to see these chicks getting ass-rammed with their boobs flopping around?  There’s a lot of provocative fan-service animations and poses the female characters in the game do, as well.

The art style is also interesting because you will see giant men who have toothpick legs.  Not all of the men in the game are that disproportionate, and there are a couple of different mythological races in the game such as Dwarves and Fairies.  Most of the game is influenced by Norse mythology and mixes in with normal fantasy, and the art style definitely goes with what is going on, as it is essentially a “storybook” being read by the little girl in the attic every time you start up the game.

The point of the game probably won’t culminate into much of a cohesion until the end of the game, which all of the events that transpire in each individual character’s book leads to.  The last phase of the game is a series of five difficult boss battles, and provided you leveled each of the characters appropriately and they have enough items to assist them in the final battle, you will choose one character to fight each boss up to the game’s ending.

The game begins to split its path when you choose the correct or “incorrect” character for a particular end boss.  Each boss is to be paired against one of the characters you have played as “the prophecies state” that you collect while playing the preamble.  There is a satisfying ending as long as you choose the correct characters, but there’s not a whole lot that is “plainly explained” in the context of the story.  The purpose of the girl, which I believe her name is Alice, at the beginning is more-or-less justified, giving the story, which you thought as a “child’s story” to be something more of a sad, dark history of the world she lives in.  When Cornelius and a Pooka-cursed Velvet appear in the attic she has been reading her books in, it affirms that the books her “grandpa loved to read so much” actually were real after all.  The set of five books, including the Armageddon and Wheel of Fate books combined ends up being the “Odin Sphere” book written by an unnamed, unknown character whom we can only assume the identity of.  It can be also be inferred that the writer is “you” since you were there at all of the events that had transpired.

I sort of wish that they would have added a little bit more of an explanation on certain things that were left open to interpretation in the game.  The question behind who wrote the Odin Sphere book series is probably the biggest question, and how Cornelius and Velvet affect the world after they turn back into humans, and where the people of Valentine originally came from, and what the actual origin of the mechanically alien-like Cauldron is.  The total rounding up of all the loose ends wouldn’t have taken much effort, considering they were more-or-less extraneous aspects of the story that were still interesting.

I spent a good 40 hours or so on this game, and I probably would have liked to spend about 10 hours less than I did, having to beat the same bosses over and over, in what seems like a forced fashion.  They could have, and should have trimmed any of the “forced” boss encounters, especially considering you don’t even get any experience from those battles anyway.  Once you complete a book, it’s nice being able to replay the story from the beginning, but all of the locations you opened up through your first time through should have been open as well so that people trying to grind up levels a little bit for the Armageddon didn’t have to go through the same stuff again.

The inventory UI, while having an interesting take, was probably the most frustrating thing about the normal gameplay.  I wished so many times that I could open the bag view and use all my items there rather than having to use it through the swirly-circle-single-bag-at-a-time interface.  I would lose items many times and just go through each of my bags not remembering or not knowing or not seeing where something went.  Once all of the books opened up and I was grinding levels for the Armageddon, there is no way to change books without resetting the game entirely — that seemed like an oversight on the part of the design team.

Odin Sphere can be a real challenge to get through and see it through, but I feel like it’s worth it, since what the game set out to do is probably not going to be done again.  I loved the art, I loved the way the story was told, and the game play was a good stylistic compliment.


Hardware vs. Software Backwards Compatibility

There is a lot of debate currently over if the next generation of hardware from Sony (and maybe even Microsoft?) will support backwards compatibility.

In a word, yes, they most certainly will.  As I am favorable to the Sony line of video game consoles, I am obviously more educated on their practices and the user experience I have with them, not to mention the long-term investment of my gaming collection in the PlayStation brand.

But, “in what form?” is the question that should be asked about backwards compatibility — not whether or not it will be around… Backwards compatibility comes in two fashions, looking forward:

1. Disc-based (hardware) backwards compatibility.
2. Software (storefront/online/digital) backwards compatibility.

Disc-based BC is less appealing to Sony as they can’t continue to make profits off discs after the fact, besides downloadable content, and that, at best, is probably not as profitable as we might think for most games.

By making consumers’ libraries of disc-based libraries incompatible with a potential PlayStation 4, it has the following potential benefits for Sony:

1a. Consumers will repurchase games they have.

This is obviously very attractive to all the businesses involved. The repurchasing of games that are “re-mastered” via disc, and also “re-mastered” (aka “made compatible”) with the current generation of hardware. People get to rebuy the 30 dollar/50 dollar/60 dollar games they bought in the past for varying amounts of money and benefit from software BC, which is explored below.  This will also get them “new” sales from consumers who only bought games used to begin with.

1b. Consumers will “switch to Xbox” if their current libraries are cut off from them.

This is the counterweight to 1a. However, this is not the only option presented to gamers who are suddenly cut from their existing libraries. A portion of them will obviously become floaters, but they may also come back later in the generation when the hardware is cheap.

There are some that will undoubtedly choose the next Xbox (or Wii U?) as their “main console” for this reason alone, but whether or not Sony actually cares about this depends on how much focus grouping they can do and whether or not disc-based backwards compatibility actually IS a factor to keeping existing consumers who own a PlayStation 3.

I personally would assume that 1a > the losses from 1b in the long-run plus the costs of accommodating disc-based backwards compatibility (which may or may not include actual extra hardware in the box).

The result and purpose of the loss of disc-based backwards compatibility is decreasing/eliminating the confidence in optical media severely due to its resulting loss of one of its greatest benefits — longevity of ownership (aka the selling of games back as used games and resold to a new consumer), and giving more confidence to online media.

Now, exploring online-only backwards compatibility, we can almost be 100% sure that anything bought online will be made to work with whatever future PlayStation 4 is available, whether they have to update all the games with a new build or software-based solution. The benefits that come from this are (assuming all the points I brought up above are true):

2a. Customers repurchasing games online — aka “more control.”

Customers “rebuy” games that cost little to nothing to create and service. Not to mention they are cutting out the middle man — the retail store. Sony and the 3rd party get a second income from this and at a greater rate due to less hands in the pot.  This also obviously eliminates used games.  You can’t sell a used digital game.  That makes no sense!

2b. Confidence increasing in Online purchases vs. Retail Purchases

Customers will be less apt to buy disc-based games at a retail store due to the fact that their disc may or may not be backwards compatible in the future. This probably only affects about 30 to 50% of the gaming community that actually enjoys playing old games on a new system. I’m sure that most of the people who buy games sell all of the games they buy once they’re done playing them.

The result of supporting Software BC is BENEFICIAL for the following reasons:

1. Boost confidence in online purchases, which leads to:

  • 1a. elimination of retail new games
  • 1b. elimination of used game sales

2. More long-term profits by having an increasingly larger selection of games available online at a more favorable cost to profit ratio.  There is never a “lack” of games to buy and play, even when a new console is launched.

The most clean example of what is happening is the transition from PSP -> PSVita.  People are buying PSP games to play on their PSVita, and all of the UMD games that consumers may have bought have become unusable on the new system, yet everything that was available/purchased online works on PSVita for the most part or will be patched to be able to.  Anyone who has a UMD game that they want to play on the PSVita will have to repurchase it, no exceptions.

We all know video games are going to online distribution systems exclusively within the next 10 years. Sony’s 10 year plans include outlooks like this, I’m sure.  PS4, coming out in 2014, sticking around until at least 2024 as an actively-developed-for platform. I’m sure every single game that is ever released on the PS4 will be mandated to be released online as well.  If it gets to the point of games being streamed from some server somewhere, you won’t even have a copy of the data you buy anymore. Poopoo on us if those servers go down one day, or the rights to stream those games disappear and you no longer have the right to that software once it happens, even if you did pay for it.

The super long-term plan for Sony is to eliminate disc-based backwards compatibility.  It is simply unfavorable to the industry as a whole to keep it around. It is a wholly consumer-positive practice and during this transitional period we are making into Online-only purchases (and soon cloud gaming) there will be growing pains for consumers who think they own something when they buy it.

The loss of disc-based/hardware backwards compatibility is bad for the consumer.  To promote or not care for the loss of disc-based backwards compatibility is to be anti-consumer.


Dungeon Overlord (Web) Review

Developer/Publisher: Night Owl Games || Overall: 8/10

If you ever thought of opening up your own dungeon in the pits of Hell (or maybe just your local uninhabited doomy-looking mountain overlooking villages to rape and pillage), Dungeon Overlord is your game.

Screw that Farmville crap.  It’s time to make some dungeons full of farms!  And sleeping areas for the illegals– I mean Goblin workers — and slave chambers for the wise Warlocks writing your scrolls of knowledge to research random things you didn’t think you need to use.  I can’t wait until I’m able to spend 20 million research tokens to get mastery over dragons — but I guess I’m getting ahead of myself since that’s about a year out.

So, instead of jumping ahead into the future, let’s start at the beginning.  It starts with a very strict tutorial.  Strict in the sense that if you don’t follow it, you will royally screw yourself, at least when you are starting to get into the game.  It is very strict during that whole phase, despite the fact you can “do other things” while doing the tutorial phase.  It can take a lot longer than you may be accustomed to actually “start a game” since you can end up screwing yourself if you are too impatient and look ahead to what quests you can do later on.  If you don’t do exactly what the game tells you for the first hours of the game, you essentially can become stuck unless you want to wait a day to get enough resources back to fix your “errors.”  You don’t go to the Overworld until you are level 10, which pretty much means the tutorial lasts until then.

Speaking of waiting, that is what most of the game is.  Everything happens in real-time and things literally take hours to accomplish.  Two hours here, two hours there, things add up.  This game was obviously made for people who can log in maybe once or twice a day, so if you’re expecting some sort of traditional game that you can consistently play for more than an hour in one sitting, you’re not getting it.  Dungeon Overlord is by no means the only game that propagates this style of gameplay, and if you’re a traditional gamer like I am, it can be sort of annoying having to come back and only being able to do about 5 minutes of playing at any given time.  The responsibilities you gain ramp up as you expand, so it feels like there’s more for you to do in any one visit to the game later on.

There are a ton of resources to gain.  The list of resources I could find are:

Food, Gold, Research, Experience, Leather, Iron, Crystal, Abyssal Mantle, Adamantite Ore, Deep Ochre, Dense Basalt, Diamond, Feldspar, Heart of the Earth, Mithril Ore, Moonstone, Primordial Earth, Primordial Fire, Primordial Ice, Primordial Water, Quicksilver, Ruby, Shallow Mantle, Adamantite Ingot, Ashen Stone, Cold Iron Ingot, Crystite, Dense Iron Ingot, Goblin Twine, Mana Spark, Mithril Ingot, Reinforced Leather, True Silver Ingot, Prismatic Glass, Whirling Gizmos, Steel Ingot, Explosive Grog, and maybe more?

Why are there so many resources?  I don’t know.  What basis of the decision is there behind adding more resources?  I’m not exactly sure, but each different room requires some of these unique resources to upgrade.  Crafted Resources (included in the list) are more complex, because they are made by combining basic resources.  It also seems like they can just add more whenever they want, but it’s not like they’d announce that kind of stuff as far as I can see.  I don’t even know how I collect half the resources I DO have in my storage spaces right now.  I also don’t know what benefit diamonds have over rubies or pig iron other than making cars is better with diamonds.  In fact, there are so many resources, it could be kind of confusing trying to figure out why you have them in the first place.  I don’t exactly understand how experience is earned other than quests, but I seem to get it anyway, much like other resources I randomly have or get.  You get experience just from upgrading your rooms, apparently, even though that isn’t too plainly spelled out for you in-game.  I’m about a week or two into the game, and the overall point of gold is to seemingly pay off your servants for the handjobs they give you.  You can have as much as you want without any limits to it, and the only way to spend it on any resources you DO need, like Iron or Crystal, is via a hidden menu item in the Overworld where you can buy resources people post for sale.  Once you’re able to get to a second dungeon, it increases your resource acquisition by a bit as well.

When you expand to your other dungeons, they work independently of your original one, and you have to ship goods to and from the new dungeon, such as workers, resources, and furniture.  It is easy to run out of space in your starter dungeon, so you do need to expand to get more tiles.  But of course, you can buy more tiles for your home dungeon!

Games like Dungeon Overlord are free to play, but they thrive on arbitrarily creating quality of life issues, such as waiting three hours for an upgrade, so that you can pay with Facebook Credits to temporarily alleviate any concerns you may have while playing.  This game isn’t SO bad in this regard, as you can definitely get by without spending one red cent, but there are many many “opportunities” built into the game to spend your Dungeon Marks (which are the in-game currency converted from Facebook Credits).  Using any of these boosts or upgrades gives you a huge advantage over players that do not use the same boosts, and that is probably the point.  To me, it seems like the only “useful” upgrades are permanent ones.  Paying money for temporary boosts and fast upgrades is not cost effective at all, and you’ll end up spending a lot of money without realizing it, not to mention forgetting to or not being able to fully use the capabilities of those boosts at all times.

The things you actually pay for are things like resource boosts, upgrade completions (at different rates, as well), more tiles to build stuff on, immunity from raids, other stuff like that.  You’re not going to find much that is useful below 5 marks, and most of the upgrades and boosts are time-based and temporary, or only apply to the current dungeon you are in, allowing you to purchase those same permanent increases in your other dungeons as well.  The current conversion of Facebook Credits is 20 for $1.99.  That comes out to about 10 cents per credit, but you get an extra 10-15% extra dungeon marks depending on how much you redeem in-game.

The User Interface is okay, but it can be sort of lacking in regards to trying to figure out how many Dungeon Marks you have — scratch that.  While I was playing, they upgraded the game to plainly show how many Dungeon Marks you have, not to mention another handy “buy” button to refill up your marks.  As a reviewer playing this game, I got 300 marks to play around with, and I easily spent 105 while being super conservative.  Anywho, back to the user interface, the miscellaneous amount of information that you might want to look up are in places you probably wouldn’t intuitively think they should be in, but if you click around enough you eventually do find what you need.  There is also a huge “invite friend” toolbar at the bottom that takes up a huge amount of your screen, which I do not like.  They might as well make that toolbar an “announce you are an idiot” toolbar, cause I ain’t using it either way.

The Overworld is an interesting place, as each player resides in their own mountain, along with four other players.  Each player is able to potentially expand into the rest of the mountain, and if you wanted to, attack your neighbor’s dungeons as well.  There is quite a lot of real estate available in each mountain, and depending on how active your neighbors are, you might even have the whole thing to yourself.  Raiding is just another way to gain resources, and can only be done in the Overworld screen.  The raids on other dungeons and towns are passive (meaning all you need to do is wait for it to happen and then it does), and they usually require a certain amount of minions.  You use orcs to raid, initially, and eventually use other units such as Thieves, Warlocks, Dark Elves, etc etc etc.  Once a battle is over, you can “watch” the battle as it happened, but it is basically just your minions going in and moving very slowly until they find something to whack and then I guess the goal of your minions is to get to the vault, steal gold and other resources, and then leave.  There is no destruction of any rooms or anything like that.  Raiding is useful because some resources are only gained by raiding, such as leather.  The world map actually has many different zones and other villages around your mountain.

For some reason, the keyboard does not work when you are in full screen mode.  Don’t ask me why, but that’s annoying when you’re trying to rename something into your favorite rapper.  When you start out the game, annoying “share” pop-ups appear every other quest, which takes you out of the game so you can tell your friends how much fun you’re having placing a jewel box in your vault.  It tapers off after the Tutorial quests complete, but occasionally you still see them.  I can understand that they want you to share with your friends, but it really breaks up the experience by tossing you out of the game (especially if you’re in full screen mode) to do so.  It should be integrated into the game, if anything.  In fact, the invite friend bar should be used for this purpose.  I’d actually prefer that this didn’t happen at all, but thems the bricks, I suppose.  The constant badgering of telling you to share stuff with your friends is almost a game breaker for me, and I probably would have stopped playing if it weren’t for the fact that I was going to write something about it.

There is a lot of noise pollution created by this game.  Sound effects are constantly going, and doesn’t seem to have had much design intent involved as to when you hear most of the sounds going on.  They are just on an endless loop.  There is music, which you can mute independently.  You can also mute everything, but there is no way to mute ONLY sound effects if you felt like you wanted to listen to the music in the game.  I guess I should be thankful that the game remembers you keep the sound on mute.

The graphics in the game are reminiscent of Roller Coaster Tycoon, a game about ten years old.  It’s not exactly something I missed, but I guess its nice to see that quality of art again in a new game.  It has a sense of humor, which is nice, as well, but that’s only if you care to read anything the quests say, and some of the nuances in the things your decorations do on your rooms.  The game can “improve” or “change” at any time, as well.  Earlier when I was playing the game, I was going to make note of terrible use of screen real estate with the friend invite bar that is so usefully (/sarcasm) placed at the bottom of the screen at all times, and not knowing how many Dungeon Marks you actually have, but it was updated literally the next day and alleviated that “issue.”  But that doesn’t mean that every version change is a good thing.  The new version I had been playing made me freeze on the loading screens between different areas, resulting in it taking for-fucking-ever.  When stuff like that happens, I guess you just have to wait until they fix it since they can potentially update it at any time without letting you know.  In this case, the freezing issue was fixed by the next day.

Gameplay issues come mostly in the form of the intentional gating to artificially inflate the time one can spend on the game. For instance, you can only upgrade one thing at a time.  Though, this provides a challenge in and of itself in the form of using time as a resource — what should you waste more time on to upgrade first and what will be more useful.  It is easy to run out of tiles to build rooms on, and there is a hard cap for each dungeon — you just have to pay for the last 50.  Research costs will grow exponentially, meaning you will have less and less times where you’re going to actually have enough research to get new features in the game.  It would also be more convenient to be able to “request” supplies from your main dungeon rather than having to go your main dungeon and move supplies to your expansion dungeons each time you need something.

There is no “end” to this game, and that is good and bad thing.  Good, because well, you can keep playing until you don’t want to, and bad because of how much money you might actually sink into the game.  It is so easy to spend Dungeon Marks on temporary benefits, that it is quite scary.  I also see the boasting of the game being a “massively multiplayer” game as a buzz word to get drawn in to initially playing.  It is simply multiplayer with many people having persistent locations for their dungeons.  There isn’t much of a way to tell if these other players are actually playing consistently or as much as you, other than checking out what level they are.

Whether or not the game is fun, I guess you could say it is.  There is some sort of satisfaction in seeing your progress and upgrading of your dungeons as time goes on, and acquiring a massive amount of resources also has some weird pleasure factor involved, even if I don’t understand the intricacies of every single mechanic.  If you like this sort of drop-in-a-bucket gameplay that Dungeon Overlord has to offer, then you should give it a try.

If you have a Facebook account, you can check it out here.


Pawn Stars (Web) Review

Developer: ??? | Publisher: History Channel || || Overall: Good

Ever want to own a pawn shop? What do you mean no? Why are you walking away? Come on, you know you want to! Before I delve into this Pawn Stars Facebook game review, I’m going to give a brief summary of the show that it’s based on:

Rick Harrison, his “Old Man” (I don’t think he has a name), his son Corey aka “Big Hoss,” and a friendly, simple man named Chumlee star in a History Channel show about a pawn shop that operates in Las Vegas. The show features staged presentations of people trying to sell their antiques for various reasons. Nine times out of ten, the person is completely ripped off by Rick, who pretends that the item they’re trying to sell is only attractive to a limited market, only to turn around to the camera and remark that he already has three potential buyers for it.

Now that you know the skinny about the show, let’s talk about the game.

You start out by naming your pawn shop and choosing the person who will be behind the counter. At level 1 you’re limited to just the free workers, who are good enough at this point. They each have three stat bars that show their expertise: Knowledge, Happiness, and Selling. These stats can make a big difference when it comes to making money, as they are all important when it comes to the pawn biz. They also have different categories that they are especially knowledgeable in. I personally chose “Al” who mysteriously looks like Al Roker and appears to have his same charm and wit. After all is said and done you start to actually play the game.

This is where the hardcore pawn (oops, that’s a different show) business starts, but at least you have the gang from the show to help you out! Well, they don’t really help. They just pop up occasionally and make faces at you. Anyway, you should already have a few customers waiting in line. A preview of the items they want to sell you appears over their heads, along with bars that indicate their current moods. The longer they wait, the more their moods go down. The Happiness stat on your worker also affects this. When you decide who you want to deal with, simply click on them.

The haggle screen is pretty simple. The person offers what they think the item is worth and you can either counter-offer, accept their offer, or refuse the item altogether, which makes the person leave your shop. On this screen you can also have the item appraised for $200 if you think you may be able to con the guy into giving you a lot less than it’s worth like Rick does on the show. The final choice on this screen is to pray to the pawn shop gods and automatically receive wisdom on the item in question. This costs money, though. The gods have to make a living too.

After buying something you can proudly display it on your shelf or table and wait for someone to make an offer. The time you have to wait for an offer increases the higher the item is worth. Hopefully after the time elapses, the offer made is higher than what you paid for it. If it is, sell it! If it isn’t, you can either cut your losses and get rid of it anyway or wait for the next offer, which could be higher or lower, no telling.

Occasionally someone will bring in a broken item. You can buy these “restoration” pieces and either try to restore them, or break them down for parts to use on other restorations. Restorations can be a long and expensive journey, as some items have several stages of fixing up that cost valuable time, money, and parts. There is a nice selection of ways to fix things up, however, so you can customize things to your liking, whether it makes you money or not.

Too much buying and selling, you say? You also have the option to decorate your shop with various items, some of which have benefits like increasing happiness of customers, decreasing time to wait for a customer, etc. Some of these cost money, some cost “candies.” This is where Facebook rears its ugly head and tries to get you to pay real money for fake Facebook credits so you can buy more candy. If you’re not willing to do that, then it is going to take a long time to earn enough candies to buy anything.

All in all, the Pawn Stars Facebook game is a very addictive, fun little time waster. If you want to be like Rick Harrison, put on a hundred or so pounds and wear a tacky polo shirt with no undershirt. But if you want to own a pawn shop, play this game and see if you have what it takes to make a living off of other peoples’ ignorance and gullibility!

If you have a Facebook account, you can play Pawn Stars here.


Bilton Scraggly’s Board Gayme Bonanza

Bilton Scraggly specializes in entertaining board games for the modest homosexual. These are just a few of the many fun adventures waiting on the shelves at your local retailer!

Gay Checkers

This simple yet surprisingly fun game is the one you’re more likely to see being played by young ones. This checkered board will make you checkered with joy and make you scream out your darkest fantasies when you reign supreme!

Game rules: The two teams consist of rainbow colored and pastel colored pieces. Enemy pieces are not jumped, they are humped, forcing the enemy piece to live in their lavish gay community. The player must giggle and smile at the opponent before taking his turn. When a player’s piece reaches the opposite side of the board, that piece gets gay rights and gets the honor of having a second piece stacked on top of it (every man’s dream). The game ends when all of a player’s pieces are trapped in the other’s gay community or when Will & Grace comes on, whichever comes first.

Game terminology:

Teapot Tap – When the player moves a piece with their pinky.

Head & Shoulders Solution – When a player attempts to distract the other by complimenting the volume of his hair.

Intermission – When the players take a time out to brush each others’ teeth in the middle of the game.

Elton John Backstroke: When a piece with gay rights humps a piece behind itself.

Don’t ask, just yell – Alternate term for winning the game.

Gay Chess

Ahh gay chess, the gay thinking man’s game. This strategic masterpiece will test your wits and patience in a skimpy fight to the death!

Game rules: There are no kings in gay chess, only queens, so each player gets two of them. No piece is allowed to move in a straight line. The game ends when one player admits their secret carrot cake recipe to the other.

Piece types before and after:

Bishop – Gay clergyman

Knight (horse) – Richard Simmons on a pinata

Pawn – Catholic boy

Rook (castle) – Neverland Ranch

Game terminology:

Cross-dress – When the player’s piece is switched for another on the opposite side of the board.

Geisha confidence – When the player bows after moving.

Paris Hilton Position – When the player sits cross-legged during play.


The original buying and trading properties game, only this one is gay! Let Rich Aunt Penny Bags lead you through a journey of building houses and hotels, showing off your country’s gay capitalism.

Game rules: Kisses are the only currency used in Manopoly. If a player lands on the income tax space, they must kiss a close male relative. If the player passes Joe, they get a helpful pat on the rear. If the player lands ON Joe, every player sticks their finger in his belly button. Community’s Chest and Glance cards are drawn and performed down to the smallest detail.

Card examples:

Go to mail – Do not pass Joe. Go to the post office and make all postal workers uncomfortable.

Take a ride – On another player, then proceed to the Reading Railroad.

Gender error in your favor – Turns out you’re half woman!

Game terminology:

The big tease – When a player blows on the dice before rolling.

Homoerotic barter – Alternate term for a trade.

Free parking – When a player sits in another’s lap.


Imagine this–you’re on a gigantic warship in the middle of the ocean, firing artillery at any boat that comes by. Then you wake up in a bathtub with a man. Welcome to Bodyship!

Game rules: The players divide their body up into sections. When a section is guessed, the player wipes that section of the opponent’s body with a moist towelette. The game ends when the player “hits the spot,” or until the players run out of moist towelettes/licked toilet paper.

Game terminology:

Frosty – When a player breaks out into a cold sweat.

Mowing the lawn – When hair accidentally comes off with the towelette.

Honk attempt – When the player tries to wipe something that makes noise.

Other family friendly games available from Bilton Scraggly:

  • Gay Connect Four
  • Gay Topple
  • Slip ‘n’ Ride
  • Gaytor Golf
  • Hungry Hungry Gay Men
  • Guess Who (is gay)
  • Gay Risk
  • Electronic Talking Bodyship

Knights of Mayhem (TV Show) Review

Channel: National Geographic Channel

A show about jousting. Doesn’t get much more exciting than that. Except maybe shows about pinball, cake walks, knitting, and the pawn shop show with that delightful Chumlee!

Knights of Mayhem follows jousting captain and “World Champion” Charlie Andrews as he dons a full set of metal armor and gets medieval (literally) on the other couple of people that engage in this idiotic activity.

Charlie is apparently very experienced and has given up everything, including his family, to do this for a living. This proves that he has major priority problems and various mental disorders, possibly stemming from seeing his paw get runned over by horses as a child.

I don’t care who you are, what you look like, how long you’ve been doing it, whatever. If you’re a grown man wearing armor and hitting other men with sticks, you’re a jackass.

What happened to National Geographic? When I was a kid it was all about half naked African women riding elephants. I guess a good thing can’t last forever. I give this show a THUMBS DOWN.