VGT – Video Games from the Perspective of a 76 Year Old

I am very blessed to have a guest blogger fill in for me as I focus on a couple of papers for seminary.  I would like to introduce you to Ellie Loring, my mother and one of my best friends.  I helped her get her first computer back around the year 2000.  I knew it wouldn’t take her long to enjoy the world of email, Facebook, and of course  – some games.  Think video games are for the young?  They are for the young at heart, that’s for sure.  I asked her to write about some of her favorite games.  Enjoy!

Meet Ellie Loring

Meet Ellie Loring

I have been told that I am a faithful fan of Wild Man Ted.  Faithful in that I wade through paragraphs of video equipment descriptions and gaming skills information to find the spiritual gems that Ted gleans from his life outside of and often including his love of video games.  let it be known before I go any further, that I am seventy-six years young, and do not kindle or text or own a smart phone.

However, I have always loved to play games whether it be cards, board games, or crossword puzzles.  When Ted set me up with my own computer, it wasn’t too long before he introduced me to the never ending fun of computer games.  He then gave me a gift card to BIG FISH and I became hooked.  (Editor’s Note: Big Fish is one of many flash-based gaming websites.  They are inexpensive and fun, but be wary of getting inadvertently signed up for a monthly commitment)  I soon found through trial and error that I prefer the matching games that can keep me challenged because of increasingly difficult levels and fascinating story lines.

Around the World in Eighty Days

Around the World in Eighty Days

My favorite game is Around the World in Eighty Days.  It follows the Jules Verne classic book and I travel for eighty days to different countries.  The graphics are exceptional and the games are challenging.  I visited Ted one weekend and I introduced him to this game.  Needless to say, I spent our time together watching him play.  I have taken the journey at least seven times.  The only change in successive games is the intrusion of ominous clouds that get in the way of an easier win.

Jewel Quest Heritage

Jewel Quest Heritage

There is a series of Jewel Quest games of which I have tried two.  My favorite is Jewel Quest Heritage.  Beginning with a girl in 1940 you trace her lineage through members of her family tree culminating in ancient “Moctezuma.”  It becomes a mock history lesson while you work your way through some fascinating games.  This game allows you to increase your time as needed.  However, I have yet to complete the more challenging game when you do not have that opportunity.

Cradle of Rome

Cradle of Rome

Last night I went to bed late trying to get to Olympus in the game Cradle of Rome.  In this game I build an empire by earning enough money to add to my city.  Soon the games add other rewards like hatchets, lightning bolts, and bombs.  There are additional games in the series which I am ready to try.

Zuma

Zuma

There are two other games I must mention that are great fun, but frustrating because I can’t beat them.  Zuma is a popular game of speed and flashing marbles zooming out at me at such a speed that when I go to bed at night, I still see them when I close my eyes.  I have never been able to get past level nine.

Mah Jongg Dimension Deluxe

Mah Jongg Dimension Deluxe

The other game is Mah Jongg Dimension Deluxe in which speed and accuracy are also important.  I may never get through the hard level of the game.

I have not progressed beyond a mouse controlled computer game.  My kids find my ability to use anything more complex to be a source of annoyance and laughter.  Perhaps Wild Man Ted will ask me to write again when he tries to advance me to a new level.  But don’t hold your breath.

Mom, I think you are doing great right where you are – Wild Man Ted

My Wii U Experience Part 5

There is a HUGE difference here for $50

There is a HUGE difference here for $50

It’s been a little while since I’ve given an update on my Wii U experience.  I still don’t think I’ve made full use of the game system yet and I’m still waiting for a game to come out that is going to make the world want to go buy a Wii U.  I purchased my Wii U at midnight from a local Wal-Mart on the night of it’s release.  I purchased the white basic model rather than the black deluxe model that night.  I wanted the black one but since there was only a white one left, I settled and got it.  There is a lesson here and I may need to write about it in a future post – but when you settle for something, you almost always end up regretting it.

There are two key differences for me between the two systems.  1.  A charging cradle for the Wii U Controller  and 2.  32 Gig of storage vs. 8 Gig.  The need for a charging cradle may seem insignificant, but I’ve had a hard time trying to find a place for my controller to call home.  I’ve tried different plugs in the room but it always looks ungainly.  Plus there is the issue of relatively short battery life (3 to 4 hours) and sometimes I forget to plug it back in.  A charging cradle provides a permanent place for the controller and charges it up for the next gaming session.  The difference between 8 and 32 Gig of storage was noticed almost immediately.  When I purchased and downloaded my third game, I discovered that I had no more storage.  (Please note that the operating system is also using some of that storage space.)  For a while I used a 4 Gig memory stick but Nintendo does not recommend a USB stick as a storage solution.  Plus 4 Gig is just not enough extra storage.

I recently added a USB hard disk drive (320 Gig) to my Wii U and I had a few challenges.  Nothing major, but I thought it would be helpful to anyone else who has thought of adding a USB hard drive to their Wii U.  I started by purchasing a 1 Terabyte USB hard drive that I use for backup.  It connects to my wireless router and is available as a network drive.  This purchase made my old 320 Gig backup USB drive available for other purposes.  So I took my old 320 Gig hard drive and decided to connect it to my Wii U.  After connecting, I turned on the Wii U and…..nothing happened.

Connect a notebook hdd to the Wii U and .... nothing

Connect a notebook hdd to the Wii U and …. nothing

I did some research online and discovered that Nintendo does not recommend using a notebook USB hard drive with the Wii U.  They recommend a USB hard drive with it’s own power connection.  Great.  Apparently the USB port on the Wii U does not provide enough power to make it work.  But I did not give up.  The next day I asked my friend Squiggly if he knew of a solution.  Since he is so smart he could build a computer out of paper clips, a pack of gum, and pocket change – he gave me a recommendation.  He told me to order a double USB cable.  The extra USB port would provide the extra power to make it work.

Two is better than one

Two is better than one

I bought one on Amazon for about $6.50.  For a link click here.  It arrived quickly because Amazon is awesome.

Plug in to Both USB Ports

Plug in to Both USB Ports

I next installed the double cable to the Wii U.  One downside is that I no longer have any more USB ports for the device, but for now I think I can live with that.  I connected all of the other cables and turned on the system.  This time it recognized the drive and informed me that it needed to be formatted.  I had no problem with formatting since I had already removed all important information from the drive.  It did not take very long to format.

Select a game and save file then hit X to transfer

Select a game and save file then hit X to transfer

I had no problem transferring games and save data over to the new storage.  The available memory increased on the system and I still have tons of space for more storage on the hard drive.

Happy happy joy joy

Happy happy joy joy

I have to say that the experience was not too difficult once I discovered what to do.  Now I can purchase downloadable games and try out demos without the aggravation of having to make room on the system memory.   The little drive sits nicely on top of my Wii U.  Of course, it would all match nicely if I had purchased the cool black deluxe Wii U.  But I settled….   I still think this system has a lot of potential.  Hey Nintendo!  How about some achievements or trophies?   I love those things on the Xbox 360 and PS3!

The hard drive sits on my Wii U

The hard drive sits on my Wii U