Gamefly’s Worth

I’m coming up on the second monthly renewal for my Gamefly subscription. I received a 30 day trial with a Pizza Hut order a few months ago, and decided to give it a shot. The trial started out as the 2 at a time plan. In the first month, I rented 5 games: Half Life 2, Trauma Center: New Blood, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Fable II, and Virtual Fighter Online. At the end of the first month, I changed the membership to 1 out at a time, and returned Virtual Fighter Online (keeping Fable II.) Here’s where the problems started. I received Fable II on 11/7/08 and it was returned on 1/6/09. I had the game for 2 months, and never found a chunk of time to devote to it. I had decided to use the membership to play through games that offered easy achievement points, and my next game was the original Condemned game. I blasted through it pretty quickly (just over 2 weeks,) and sent it back. I currently have a PS3 game out (MGS4,) and I’ve only played a few hours since I received it almost a month ago. The membership cost is $54 for the last three months, in which time I’ve completed Half-Life 2, and Condemned: Criminal Origins. The main reason that I’m thinking about this is that I have a $5 coupon that’s going to expire this month, around the time that my account would renew. With the amount that I’ve rented in the last 2 months, I can’t justify keeping the membership, so I’ll probably use my coupons to keep the game I have (MGS4 for $24.99,) and cancel before it renews.
If you have a few hours per day to devote to games, and you’re not interested in owning games, Gamefly may be probably right for you. If you rent less than one game a month, you’re probably better off going to Blockbuster/Gamecrazy/Family Video/etc. Heck, you might even do better buying used games at Gamestop, and using their liberal return policy as a rental system.

Guitar Hero for NES!

Right, we’re only a few hours in and it’s going to be hard to top this for best new development of the week: following remakes on the Commodore 64 and text adventures, Kent ‘SnowBro’ Hansen and Andreas Pedersen have created D+Pad Hero — rhythm action for the NES — and it’s entirely excellent. The game uses a bizarre mix of DDR arrows with Rock Band-like strums (and, smartly, its responsive audience): only the A and B buttons are used to hit notes, but overlaid arrows are this game’s version of colored fret-buttons. The result is a game that feels like learning to walk all over again (and is strongly recommended for a joypad only), but genuinely comes together as you stick with it. Included are Hansen’s chiptune remixes of G’n’R’s Sweet Child of Mine, A-Ha’s The Swing of Things, Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, and Michael Jackson’s

link: 8-bit Guitar Hero comes to the NES

R.I.P.: Dreamcast

The SEGA Dreamcast is one of my all time favorite consoles. It was the first console of the last generation that I purchased. It’s kid of hard to believe that it has been ten years since it was launched. Eurogamer is running a retrospective on the little console that could (but didn’t.)

I liked the Dreamcast for a couple of reasons:

  • Shenmue (I and II) – I played Shenmue I and II on the Dreamcast, and I even went through the added steps to continue my saved game from Shenmue I with the import copy of Shenmue II.
  • Piracy – The Dreamcast started to teach me about the downside of piracy. I spent a log of time grabbing games from usenet, burning them, and then verifying that they would boot, but I didn’t spend a lot of time playing them. The lesson was that my time was better spent paying for and playing the games that I really wanted than downloading and burning games that didn’t.

In many ways I consider the Xbox and Xbox 360 to be decedents of the Dreamcast. To me the Xbox is more like a Dreamcast 1.5 (imagine a Dreamcast with DVD, and ethernet, and you’ll have an idea of what I’m getting at.) It doesn’t hurt that my number two Dreamcast game was only released on the Xbox for the US market.

First Post!

Welcome to techniDad!

First off, a brief note about me. I’m a happily married father of two (both girls), and I would call myself a technology enthusiast. I’ve been into video games and computers for as long as I can remember. In my younger years, it was an Intellivision and Apple //c. These days it’s an Xbox 360 and a MacBook Pro.

My “plan” for techniDad is to post / discuss issues related to being a tech junkie with a growing family. I want to talk about playing games with and without your kids. I’d also like to review games and gadgets from the perspective of a busy dad working in the construct of raising two young children, and taking part in their activities.

If you have any suggestions, or requests, please contact me via email technidad AT me DOT com.