Bingo Anyone?

I remember having lots of fun playing Bingo. When I was a young girl, we played it in school when it was too wet for our class to go outside for recess. My family had a game that we’d play at home, when my Mother could get all of us kids to sit down long enough. Our local school’s PTA often held bingo games as fundraisers. The local Lions, Elks and other such clubs still have a couple of bingo nights at their lodges. Still, as a game, it seems to have fallen out of fashion everywhere except on the web.

Playing bingo and other games of chance on the web is a trend that seems to be constantly growing in popularity. Many of the game-based websites offer free on-line play, or you can register with them to play for money or other prizes. Online bingo lacks the fun of a game held in a room full of people frantically trying to get those tiles in a nice neat row, so they can yell “bingo” at the top of their lungs. Still, it is easy to access and very convenient. You can play at almost any time of the day and from the privacy of your home on sites like Caesars online.

I may be waxing a bit nostalgic, but I would really like to see bingo become more popular as a pastime that is undertaken in person. Oh, I could go to the local Elk’s game, but they usually offer it on a night that is inconvenient for me. So, I guess what I’d like to see is the game become part of our culture once again, whether or not you play for money. It was fun and competitive, but based entirely upon luck, so that those of us without any particular skill still had a chance of winning.

Get Dante’s Inferno for $39.99 at Target

Cool pic of Dante.If you haven’t played Dante’s Inferno yet, you should. The atmosphere of the game alone is enough to merit the 8-12 hour excursion into the epic poem. Find a rainy weekend and rent the game at the very least. If buying is your thing, though, you can get EA’s latest slasher for just $39.99 at Target next week. That’s a damn fine price for a fresh title – a full $20 off retail.

Target is also having a sale on NBA 2K10, dropping it down to $29.99. There are also a few Pokemon deals going down if you want to have the most random collection of games this side of a Sega Saturn. I should probably also remind you that Bad Company 2 and MLB 10: The Show both drop on March 2nd, though those will be full price. Not an altogether bad week for gaming.

D&D Online got the free-to-play model right

D&D Online.Everyone loves a free game, especially a free game done right. Take League of Legends – the game has been around for less than a year and has already been downloaded more than a million times. It’s a great model, but one that hasn’t been as successful in the MMO world. Dungeons and Dragons Online is bucking that trend, continuing to grow both its free and subscription fee paying user base.

Turbine announced that the game has seen more than a million players in growth since the re-launch last September. Paid player subscriptions have also doubled, and the game’s store transactions are blazing along at three times the industry average, giving the franchise a 500% growth in revenue. Can you imagine what WoW’s numbers would look like if Blizzard could pull that off? Are there numbers with that many zeroes?

CEO Jim Crowley summed up the success quite well. “We’ve known all along how great this game is and by implementing an innovative new model that put the players in charge of how they pay and play DDO Unlimited, we’ve successfully expanded our reach and injected new energy into the game. Without a doubt, DDO Unlimited is a hit!”

Source: Kotaku

LoL: My first experience with the queue dodge penalty

Champion Select screen.The patch a few days back brought along one of the most undesirable things I’ve seen in League of Legends: queue dodge penalties. I’ve written enough about the semantics that you should have a feel for how it works. As a quick overview, your first dodge gets you an advertised 3-minute ban from joining queue. The next dodge is 10 minutes, with a reset 8 hours from the initial ban. Here’s how it really works.

This afternoon I queued up with a friend for a quick game. For whatever reason he didn’t join queue when I did. Instead, he was stuck at the invite screen for Arranged Team. By the time he asked if I was in queue, the game had popped. It showed him at champ select but on his screen he was still at the AT invite screen. He hit cancel and got dumped back to the home page. Instead of staying in queue and forcing him to relog, reconnect, and deal with whatever random hero he got, I dodged.

On relog we tried to queue only to be greeted by the new leaver screen that pops up over the client with a timer that counts down your penalty. Our timer? 5:14. I haven’t take math since my freshman year of college but that seems like slightly more than three minutes. Luckily we didn’t have the same problem, but I will say, I’m fairly annoyed by the fact that this isn’t functioning as advertised and that I was penalized because of a client error over which I had zero control. The more interaction I have with this new system, including the fact that dodging is till extremely common, the harder it is to believe that Riot actually pushed this through. There are so many reasons for a game to fall apart in queue that penalizing the process seems arbitrary and absurd.

I hope to god Riot realizes just how bad this system is and fixes it soon, but my guess is they won’t. It took a poll in the forums about Champ Select AFKers for someone from Riot to take interest in any opinion that doesn’t penalize queue dodging. This could have easily been considered prior to the patch. Now we get to sit back and watch as the company tries to clean up. It’s going to be a rough couple of weeks.

Blizzard still wants to release SC II in the first half of the year

Starcraft 2 interface.Depending who you ask, Starcraft II has been in development as long as 10 years. The game finally entered closed beta earlier this month, which is hopefully a sign that we will see it go to print before the end of the year. Blizzard is staying optimistic as far as timetable is concerned. The latest Blizzcast included Chris Sigaty, production director for the game, who said they were shooting for first half of the year for release.

“We were targeting three to five months for the beta, we’re really at a three month period of time for the beta at this point. We are still targeting the first half of this year, so with that in mind, it really shortens the window of time with our major content patch coming out pretty close to the end whether it’s even worth it putting out the map editor at that point.”

The map editor is one of the things that has everyone all hot in the pants, but it wouldn’t be so bad not to have it at release. Just remember, you’d be playing StarCraft II. Are you really going to get hung up on a map editor?

Source: Blizzcast Ep. 13

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