If you are at all familiar with the game Portal, you will know about the "challenge" levels.
I visited a little site called "wegame" and perused the top videos. One of the videos was on how to do a particularly tricky challenge in portal: Level 13 in 2 portals. I, having tried and tried to beat this level in two portals, knew this was impossible. What tom-foolery did they come up with to get this done? I had to see. So I clicked on the video. I was appalled. If you want to, you can take a look for yourself:
See, to me, that's cheating. It's never presented to you as a valid way to play the game. It's a hack. Granted, it's extremely clever, but I was never aware (when playing these levels) that you were allowed to beat them by cheating. Why do I call that cheating? Because it goes outside of the presented valid methods of game-play. You are given a set of tools, and to me, if you are going to get valid awards you have to stick with the valid tools, or else be told that you can use any method that you see fit. I was never told to use any method I see fit.
I know, I know, you're saying it should be implied. No, no it shouldn't. You should not be officially rewarded for a bug in the gameplay of a game. They should have fixed the bug, not expected you to find it and then relied on it for winning. Especially when they never officially present the bug to you. There is no circumstance in which I would ever have figured this out, because I follow the rules, and the rules do not state that this should be able to happen. The rules state that normal physics and gravity apply. Under normal physics and gravity, you would never be able to do this thing that you have to do to get the award.
I guess what I'm saying is, "Hey! That's not fair!". Maybe I just need to be more of a rebel, and look for ways to cheat. To "game" the system instead of playing by the rules. Who knows... I just know, I'm never going to require someone to exploit a flaw in my system in order to win. As soon as this flaw (and yes, it is a flaw) was found, it should have been fixed instead of being exploited. The game is broken. Don't celebrate it's fallen-ness, fix it.
Hey, what??? So anyone who uses google reader knows that it sucks (I'll be switching to something else as soon as I can find an acceptable alternative). It takes anywhere from 1-12 hours to update after you post a news item for your feed. Even if you hit "refresh" it doesn't go out and get the newest items.
I was a happy victim of this programmatic shortcoming this morning.
See, my brother and I are telepathically, unconsciously connected. We both posted a different video from wegame about the same portal level at the same time without knowing the other one was doing it.
I get an e-mail from PCWorld about their "beta watch" column. They talk about this video game site called "wegame". I didn't read the article, I just went straight there. I recognized it immediately as the site that Jesse has been using to post his videos. Ok, cool, maybe I'll take a look at it since it seems to be getting some attention. I click on "top videos" or something (basically I just wanted to see how good their best video was). I click on "Portal Chamber 13 - 2 Portals" (because I knew that was impossible and wanted to see how they had to cheat to accomplish it). I make a blog post. I go to Google reader (an hour or two later) and see Brian has some new comments in his comments feed. I read them. Jesse says "That's scary" in reply to some post called "Portal Chamber 13 - 4 Steps". I laugh at him cause I think he's a newb who accidentally replied to my post on the portal video on Brian's blog. I click on it to make fun of him. I can't get to The Gimcrack Miscellany because my computer sucks and makes it look like the site is down. So I IM Brian and we discover (to our amazement) that we have both posted about Portal, but because we both use Google Reader, neither of us knew the other one posted about Portal. This is insane because neither of us have posted anything about Portal in a long time, and because we both found the video at the same site and posted a video about the same level (just different aspects of the same level). Scary.
After boxing up my old computer and sending it off to Dell, I began playing Half Life 2: Episode 1.
The third day I went to play it, It started crashing. It would crash every time I played after playing for 60 seconds.
So I went in search of the answer hoping beyond hope that it was a simple driver update.
I did all of the windows updates, downloaded the latest DirectX drivers, and downloaded the Steam Crash Client. The steam crash client was very helpful in that it told me that I had a VERY SEVERE problem with my video card drivers, and gave me a link to download the new ones (I was using v.6.14.1... and the current ones as of 8/21/06 were 8.282). Let's hope this isn't an evil trap by Vadar to lure me in, and that this will actually work.
After installing all drivers and updating windows, the game seems to be working fine...
Some of you may have heard about my Dell Wars saga to date. But if you have not, I will sum it up here:
Dell sent me a lemon.
Episode I - The Phantom Menace:
I get the Dell. It''s stats are off the chart. I am astounded. Yet there are some foreboding signs I ignore lurking in the shadows. My computer freezes randomly sometimes...
Episode II - Attack of the Cloning Sounds:
While playing HL2:E1 the computer begins crashing with looping sounds. Whaaaaa??? Dell sends me a new video card, and I put a new sound card in it and disable the on-board sound.
Episode III - Revenge of the System Board:
While playing WOW my Dell starts crashing and giving me "Blue Screens of Death". I calmly call dell and scream at them, and they tell me it is the ram and system board. Oh and the processor. And they come and replace it. The RAM goes bad, and they send me new RAM. Then the system board goes bad AGAIN... All seems lost. I rise up screaming "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!"
This brings us current with:
Episode IV: A New XPS 410
My old computer (An XPS400) has gone over to the dark side of the force. However after a year of dealing with my darth dell computer, A new (free) XPS 410 has just arrived in it's place. Could this new hope be the answer to all my problems? Will it play HL2:E1 without crashing even at full resolution and max fps? Will I counter strike with impunity? We shall soon find out (I just took it out of the box)...
Stay tuned. Hopefully there will be no Episode V in which the evil dellpire strikes back and turns out to have sent me another hopelessly crappy computer...