From: Patrick Crispen
Subject: TOURBUS - 21 Sep 2006 - Game Reviews / Captivate
Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, where our famous spinach salad now comes with 25% more E. coli O157:H7. Mmmm.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, you may be considering plunking down your hard earned money to purchase a video game or two. But how can you tell which video games are truly awesome and which ones are the modern-day equivalent of the Atari 2600 game "ET" [widely considered to be the worst video game of all time -- see http://tinyurl.com/q2nl5]? With many video games now costing upwards of US$50 a pop, that's a pretty important question to ask.
There are a bunch of video game review sites out there -- GameSpot, GameZone, IGN, and so on -- but today's first stop is at a site we've visited before: MetaCritic. MetaCritic is a free website that aggregates professional media reviews about movies, DVDs, television shows, music, books, and games. If you go to
and choose your gaming platform [Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo, or PC] on the left side of the page, you'll see a huge list of the latest games available for your gaming platform. The numbers and the colors next to the title of each game give you that game's average score on a scale from 1 to 100, telling you if that game has received good reviews or not. Red means bad, green means good. If you click on the title of a particular game, you are taken to a page that shows you that game's average "metascore" as well as DOZENS of brief snippets from mainstream media reviews of that particular game. Click on one of those snippets to read the full review.
With a quick trip to MetaCritic you'll learn that "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" is absolutely awesome [a fact to which I can attest] and that "Bomberman: Act Zero" blows chunks.
Once MetaCritic tells you which games are worth your time and money, hop on over to
to see what those games looks like. Gametrailers.com offers a "vast library of unmarked, high-resolution video game trailers and gameplay that [you] can download or stream immediately to [your] computer." Most of the videos are available in both QuickTime and Windows Media formats and a few are available in hi def.
If you want to see what Oblivion looks like in action, check out
for a Windows Media player format movie or
for a QuickTime movie of someone walking around Oblivion’s different terrains. [I think the guy who recorded this was drunk -- he crashed his horse into a tree.]
Anyway, before you purchase your next video game, head on over to MetaCritic to read the reviews and then visit GameTrailers to watch a video or two of what the game looks like in real life.
[Full disclosure: I am an Adobe E-Champion and was a beta tester for Captivate 2. I am also quite tall. And I like cupcakes.]
Throughout the Fall, Adobe will be holding a series of one-hour e- seminars demonstrating what's new in Adobe Captivate 2. Captivate is Adobe's screen recording software and was formerly Macromedia Captivate 1, formerly eHelp RoboDemo, formerly Constantinople, formerly the artist known as Prince. While the software isn't free [sorry about that] these e-seminars are free and are offered entirely online. All you'll need is a computer with a web browser [like Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox], Macromedia Flash player, and an internet connection. Voice-Over IP will broadcast over your computer if you have audio. Alternatively, audio is available via telephone. Access details will be provided once you register.
for a list of dates and times or to register. Note that there will be a special "Adobe Captivate 2 for Education" e-seminar on Tuesday, September 26, from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern [12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Pacific]
Talking about education, if you are looking for a wonderful, free handbook on how to teach -- and you don't want to trundle off to the library to steal the 793rd edition of McKeachie [ISBN 0618515569] -- check out
Created by our friends at the Federal Aviation Administration, this is a 185 page Aviation Instructors Handbook that, oddly, has almost nothing to do with aviation. Instead, the handbook teaches you how to teach others, introducing you to learning theory, educational psychology, effective communication, teaching methods, and much more. Think of this as a summary of most of the stuff they teach in ed school. And, since your [or at least my] tax dollars paid for this, feel free to steal and redistribute this as often as you would like.
Special thanks go to Kevin Kelly for posting this on his Cool Tools blog at http://www.kk.org/cooltools/.
That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.