Archive for August, 2007

Adventure Game Update – XP help

Posted on August 8, 2007. Filed under: Games |

I’m told that several of the games I’ve reviewed are not playable on Windows XP.  I know, I know.  Of the “Out of the Box” games I mentioned in an earlier post, only Syberia I & II are XP compatible.  The Myst series was re-issued for XP, but I’ve read mixed reviews about how well they work.  The 95/98 emulator/compatability thingy in XP doesn’t do diddly for these games.  I’ve been nursing my 9-year-old laptop along, since it still runs Windows 98, and therefore all my classic game favorites, but now it needs a new battery…is it worth it?

Happily, I’ve discovered a site run by a person who’s also geekily nostalgic for the older graphic adventures.  He’s got XP system tweaks for some of my favorites, and many others.  I am far from being a programmer, but I am able to follow instructions, and if I do so for each game I’m interested in, it works on my desktop running XP!  I don’t have VISTA yet, we’ll have to cross that bridge at some point.

So, here are XP bandaids for  Zork Nemesis ,  and  Beyond Time .  There’s a nifty download that instantly makes  Zork Grand Inquisitor  playable on XP, too.  (I didn’t review Inquisitor, but play it, play it, it’s really fun).

I send many thanks for his work on this to  Inferno !  His site says compatibility for Amber: Journeys Beyond is still in progress.

Of course, to play any of these games, you have to have the original CD/DVDs.  Since they’re older, your best bet is to shop around online, ebay, Amazon, etc.  Good luck fellow adventure buffs!

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I’m better – What a coincidence!

Posted on August 8, 2007. Filed under: EFT, Health |

A lot of times, while practicing my favorite energy therapy, Emotional Freedom Techniques, a major issue will be resolved. I will see a new way of looking at things, or something that has bothered me for a long time suddenly just…doesn’t.

I’ll tell someone that I found the perfect idea for my next blog post, or that muscle pain I’d had for days is gone. And all this happened soon after I’d spent some time tapping on my meridian points while keeping my attention on the frustration, or block, that had kept me from seeing the way out of my difficulty.

What a coincidence! Yes indeed. Those of us who practice this technique with clients note that the changes can be subtle. We don’t always get brilliant high-impact revelations. We’ll just tend to notice, over a little bit of time, that something that really used to bug them doesn’t anymore, or even more subtly, they don’t remember what had “bugged them” to begin with! It’s easier for me to see this phenomenon in a client’s life that in my own.

When I do this work on myself, I may not notice the changes until I find myself exclaiming: “What a coincidence!” This makes me laugh, and notice, and appreciate.

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Everything is Spiritual

Posted on August 7, 2007. Filed under: Philosophy, Spirituality |

I give up. When I started this WeBLog, I wanted to tag each post with only one topic or category. My interests are intertwined, however. Computer Games can be Spiritual Experiences. Music merges with Science and Spirituality, and is an important component in Games. And Science—well, you get the picture. Certainly my favorite Energy Therapy is Spiritual, to me. After all, it talks about ENERGY, and not just the fluffy definition (Wow, she has good ENERGY, man!) but a concept, a movement, a force which can be measured–oooh, some Science sneaked in here!

I thought choosing to write within one topic at a time would be a good discipline. Perhaps. But given my holographic mind and rambling nature, my true self will leak out. I go where the Muses lead.

I’ll keep my list of topics, because I like them. But I’ll succumb to cross-categorizing here, as I do in life.

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Music Heals – but was it sick to start with?

Posted on August 6, 2007. Filed under: EFT, Health, Music, Science, Spirituality |

Sound or Music Healing is one of the fastest growing Arts therapies. Among the many books I own about the deliberate and conscious use of sound are about a dozen which use either the words “sound” or “music” in the title along with the words “healing” or “health”. I support the concept of feeling better, using sound therapy as an aid. I’m a member of the Sound Healing Network, and I have a diploma in Music Therapy. I love working with sound, and have seen it help in expanding consciousness and well-being.

I just feel like quibbling with semantics, here (a popular pastime of mine). For something or someone to be “healed” it is necessary to imply there was something “wrong” with them to start. This is just not, in my view, the case. I am not a medical practitioner, so I cannot speak with legal authority on these matters, but I have come to believe, after studying Energy therapies, and Sound and Vibrational treatment methods, that disease, or for that matter, any other unwanted condition, is a result of imbalances in our energy systems. We may be experiencing these imbalances for any number of reasons–some of which may actually be helpful to our personal growth or physical survival. When we come to a place where we’re ready for balance, we often seek assistance. We generally seek a cure or a therapy.

But, what if we took another approach? What if we regarded the manifestation (‘disease’ or ‘injury’) as “that which is no longer wanted or needed”? I know it seems obvious that a painful or unpleasant condition is not wanted or needed, but, in looking at the energy system, it appears the symptom was once a way to protect the system, just as an oyster makes a pearl out of an irritating grain of sand.

We can allow our “pearls” to be released for better use elsewhere. Our “energy pearls” are compacted, hard lumps of stuck energy which are ready to be released. How do we know this? Because they are in our awareness. Please see postings under topic “EFT” for more.

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There’s No Time Like Physics

Posted on August 3, 2007. Filed under: Science |

“It may be that the best way to think about quantum reality is to give up the notion of time-that the fundamental description of the universe must be timeless.”

The above is quoted from Discover Magazine‘s article Newsflash: Time May Not Exist. It gives support for the position that measurable time is a mental construct. Physicists say Time is what keeps everything from happening at once. Metaphysicians often state that everything does happen at once. We chose to invent time when we decided to have physical experiences, so that those experiences would be ordered, structured, and comprehensible.

It may be next to impossible to imagine a life without time, although perhaps nearly all of us have had moments of timelessness. For me, these are often involved with music–rehearsing, performing, or listening to it. I can get caught up in composing or arranging and getting it “just right”. Then, I’ll realize that several hours have gone by in what feels like the space of a few minutes. Others may experience this feeling in art, or work, or love.

We have pithy sayings to describe this: “Time flies when you’re having fun!” We tend to think it’s a psychological trick, but some physicists state that it’s a very “real” phenomenon. Time does actually speed up or slow down depending upon our conscious attention to it.

“…our ordinary clocks don’t measure something that’s independent of the universe. In fact…clocks don’t really measure time at all.”

We were taught that our universe is linear. It started with the “big bang” some billions of years ago, and will keep expanding until, at some moment, it STOPS. And then begins to contract again. And will eventually disappear. Aside from the obvious questions–“What happened before the big bang? What will happen after the universe disappears?”–there are questions like “Who was there to measure this, anyway? How could we know? Can there have been light-years before there was light?”

In school, at least in Western education, we are taught about “primitive” cultures, who hadn’t invented clocks yet. We’re told charming stories about how friends would arrange to meet “when the sun makes a pattern like a bull upon the big boulder”. Yet, some of these cultures left monuments containing amazingly precise solar and lunar calculators. They just didn’t run their lives by the second as we do. It appears that the movement of the heavenly bodies through space led us to start to measure time in days, months, years–and finally hours. Now we are told that those hours don’t exist independently of our observation of them.

“…he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” – Einstein, upon the death of a friend.

People who “believe” in physics??? A traditional scientist would state that physics just “is”. Did physics exist before the universe? What does the word “before” mean in this context? I don’t know how we can discover or postulate findings like those articulated in the above quotes without a healthy dose of wonder.

The full article, and many fascinating links, can be seen here: Discover Magazine

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The Best Things in (virtual) Life are F r e e

Posted on August 1, 2007. Filed under: Games |

Part two – No Cost Adventure Games! 

I had played adventure games for years before I stumbled upon some websites offering wonderful story-based games at no cost to the consumer!  Quite a few of these are created by professional game developers working on their own projects, or from talented design students.  I’ve downloaded and played many of these now.  I love the concept, and love the games.

I must admit that after years of better and better graphics, complex and beautifully rendered artwork, and professional actors voicing characters and appearing in cutscenes, the lesser, two-dimensional graphics took some getting used to.  However, the graphics are the only things “lesser” in these games.  They look like a throwback to the early days of graphic games, but with better colors and rendering.  The stories, the music, and the puzzles in many of these are first class, though, and well worth the mental adjustment.  And they cost $0!  The ones recommended here fit my criteria of uplifting content with limited, or no “badguy” factor.  (See previous “Games” post for “badguy” discussion).

Additional fun can be had by going to the authors’ websites and learning about them, and why and how they developed their projects.  The five developers mentioned below are from five different countries!  It’s great to be a part of an international gamers’ community.  You can find these five, as well as dozens of others at http://www.gameboomers.com/FreeGames.html There are lots of other good free adventure game sites out there too.  Seek and find them.  Here are my favorite five no-cost games, SO FAR…I have a feeling many more will make it onto my computer.

#5  Other Worlds   This is a very long and involved game.  It has preposterous character graphics-I feel like I’m looking at a variety of cutouts from different comic books and magazines.  The author acknowledges this, though, and believes the story is more important than anything else, and that the character renderings are sufficient to do the job.  Many of the backgrounds and buildings are beautiful.  This is a journey into several parallel worlds, and the rules are different in each.  Your character is searching for another who has disappeared, and is discovering how the different worlds can coexist.  I was haunted by the overall beauty of this game, its moody music, and its ending, for days after I finished.  It might have ranked higher on my list if I was not required to perform one small, maybe even humorous violent act.  I felt it violated the character’s principles.  Nothing gruesome here, though.  A vivid, wonderful game.

#4  Nathan’s Second Chance   I loved each of the characters the moment I met them.  I wanted to stand up and cheer.  When Nathan accidentally dies, he gets another chance to make things right.  The after-death concept is hysterically imagined by this author, and I giggled constantly at the dialog.  And, drum roll please, NO “badguys”!  Not one!  Everyone in the game feels a little better at the end, including the player.  Nice and coherent graphics.  Not much music or length, but, honestly, I wouldn’t mind living next door to this household.

#3  Five Magical Amulets  This is an absolutely lovely old-fashioned fairy tale.  You wander through an enchanted forest, meet wizards, magicians, and, yes, fairies.  Your job is to find and rejoin five amulets that have become scattered throughout the kingdom.  Each has a very specific power, and you learn to use them.  It’s a long, satisfying game.  One or two “badguys”, particularly the evil king, but you are able to overcome all sticky situations with your overpowering niceness.  It has rich, very detailed backgrounds, evocative music, talking animals, and nearly every magical creature that’s ever appeared in literature.

#2  I’m going to cheat, here, and put two of the same designer’s games at #2, only because I couldn’t pick one or the other, and I didn’t want to displace the other four.  First, play Cubert Badbone, P.I., then play The Game That Takes Place on a Cruise Ship.  This is their chronological order, and if you play Cubert first, you’ll understand why I say this when you get to TGTTPOACS.  When I’ve read reviews of this developer’s work, the most often repeated comment is “How can such a young person have written such great games?”  The creator is older now and is finishing a degree in computer science.

Cubert is an otherworlds private investigator who is looking into the disappearance of all the humans from a tourist planet.  You go along and discover the clues with him.  Cubert’s an odd sort of fellow, and the planet is populated by eccentric individuals.  The backgrounds are great, in “noir” black and grayscale.  Very different.  Really good original music.  Only one “badguy”, who is hatching a nefarious plot with all the trimmings.  What happens to him is…interesting.

The Game That Takes Place on a Cruise Ship is another feast for the eyes and ears.  When I met our heroine, Gert, I asked myself, “Who IS this person…and how did she get into a game?  (There’s yet another game, “The Interview” which explains that).  The characters generally have unlikely hair colors to go with their unlikely personalities.  Gert has won a free cruise—terrific.  But something strange is going on.  The most mentioned feature of this game is that it has four different endings!  You pick which you will experience through the choices you make during play.  Of course I went back and played them all.  I loved all the different rooms.  I really felt I was visiting a jazz club, or a restaurant, or a locker room, all on board ship.  There are one or two “badguys” with the requisite evil plots, but, really…without giving things away, their “reasons” for their bad behavior advance the plot in delightful ways.  You’ll guess from the outset that Gert will save the day, but she gets to do it four different ways, and you have to admire her spunk.  Fabulous original music from the developer, who has a great Blog on WordPress discussing social issues as well as games and gaming.  Visit  http://www.deirdrakiai.com/  You’ll be glad you did.

#1  Out of Order  This is the flat-out most original thing I’ve seen in this 2-D world.  The creator developed the game engine used by this and three other games on this list.  I guess I like its style.  Your character, Hurford, is awakened by a severe electrical storm to find his house and garden have disappeared!  Only his bedroom is left from his usual environment.  He finds the world outside his room very different indeed.  This is a great 2D sci-fi mystery adventure with memorable characters, stunning graphics, and wonderful, compelling, and deeply disturbing music.  (I mean that in the nicest way!).  Each room has it’s own theme, and the creator is the composer.  I found myself analyzing some of the music on my keyboard.  The chord structures used by the composer were as “out of order” as the rest of the game.  The Title can be understood several ways, and the music just adds to all its meanings.  I found Hurford immediately endearing.  His bedroom slippers alone make playing the game worthwhile.  The people he meets during his quest to find out “what the heck happened” are hilariously off center, too.  The puzzles are fully integrated and make perfect sense within the game world…except when they don’t, wink, wink.  You’re able to share a joke with Hurford about this.  No “badguy”…or is there?  What do you think?

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