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New computer!

In May I finally built myself a new computer. I ended up buying a GeForce GTX 690 graphics card, even though it was actually crazy expensive. I just figured that for once, I’d like to indulge myself a little when buying a computer… I also bought a 27” NVidia 3D monitor. Even though a lot of people say that they get dizzy or uncomfortable watching 3D, I’ve never had that problem to a large degree. Playing Diablo 3 in 3D is amazingly awesome! Like watching little toy figurines run around and kill things. I also bought Battlefield 3 so I could have a modern FPS to test in 3D mode. Only tried a little so far, but it does seem to work quite smoothly in 3D even at full resolution and details! Look forward to playing more.

Besides gaming, it feels really great to have a computer that runs smoothly with barely any lag or delays! I think it takes around half a minute to boot it up even when it’s completely off.

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I like the shiny GeForce text. Though I don’t see it much since my computer is on the floor now.

The parts I bought for my computer:

  • Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V PRO
  • CPU: Core i7 3770K
  • Graphics card: Gainward GeForce GTX 690 4GB
  • Optical drive: Lite-On Blu-Ray Writer iHBS112
  • RAM: 2 x Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz 8GB
  • Main hard drive: Intel 520 Series SSD 240GB
  • Data drive: 2 x Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB in RAID1
  • Case: Corsair Obsidian 550D
  • Monitor: Asus 27” 3D LED monitor VG278H

 

As I mentioned I’ve been playing Diablo 3, and for whatever reason I’ve managed to get myself to Hell difficulty and level 55 now, even though I originally only intended to play through the story mode once in Normal difficulty. I probably wanted to get to level 60 just because people on my friends list are level 60 already. But I just don’t seem to have enough time to play that much, and by now my friends don’t even seem to play Diablo as much either anyways. So most likely I’ll give it up and play all the other games I wanted to try out on my new computer.

I also finished Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Gravity Rush. Amnesia was quite scary at first, but after getting used to dying a few times, it just started feeling annoying because I disliked having to stop and hide and wait before I could keep going. Since I was trying to finish it quickly.

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Awesome Gravity Rush concept art

I really liked Gravity Rush, even though I found the story and dialogue to be quite “simplistic”, for a lack of a better word. While there are a couple of more complex ideas in the story, the game doesn’t really delve any deeper into those parts. And the game ends before (slight spoiler alert) answering many of the questions raised during the game. Still, the story is interesting enough that I want to know more about the main character and the world in the game! I do hope there will be a sequel or DLC which tries to explain more, but even if they do not, I would probably buy them anyways. Already bought the currently available DLC after seeing that it actually does have some story missions (missions with dialogues and cutscenes, though not really plot-important stories), will probably buy the rest when they are out.

I started playing Assassin’s Creed 2 before building my new computer, but after I finished building it I’ve mostly been playing computer games (mainly Diablo 3). Maybe once I convince myself to stop playing Diablo I will go back to try and finish Assassin’s Creed 2, though I must say that I am quite a bit less interested in console gaming now that I have a great gaming computer, and tons of games I’ve yet to play on it.

In June, besides gaming, I‘ve been to the amusement park Tusenfryd, gone barbequing a few times, made sushi and tempura, watched Prometheus, played mahjong with some friends, and preparing for summer camp (mostly working on the camp booklet and the booklet web app that I wanted to try making!)

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Made sushi and tempura with my brothers and some friends

At Tusenfryd I tried out the SkyCoaster with Tore and Elizabeth, though it was honestly slightly disappointing. You only got a kick out of it the first second or so when you are in free fall, but as soon as you start swinging and feel the grip of the equipment you’re wearing, it doesn’t really feel that different from f.ex. SpinSpider. Considering you have to pay 150NOK-195NOK to try it, I don’t really think it’s quite worth it. The other big disappointment was that Nightmare was closed due to technical problems, I really wanted to try it. Oh well…

SpinSpider_2
The SpinSpider ride was quite fun!

Oh, a tips for those going to Tusenfryd, you get cheaper tickets if you buy online before you go there, and if you have a VISA card you can get a 20% discount. When we bought it the price was 279NOK instead of 369NOK, quite a difference!

Also Pastor Ivy and her husband Glen from Toronto came to Oslo to visit us! Though because I have been busy with summer camp work and she has been busy with church activities with the adults, we haven’t met as often as last time she visited. Though she’ll be here for a few weeks after camp too, so we will probably meet up at least a few times then.

Well then, time to head for bed. Next time for sure I will blog before a month has passed! Maybe.

 

Posted by on 2012-07-02 in Uncategorized

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Cruising on the Mediterranean Sea

Last week my family took a flight to Barcelona to go on a cruise with Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas! While the ship was bigger than the ship we took from Oslo the previous two times we went on a cruise with Royal Caribbean, it only had slightly more things to do.

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The mini golf was too boring since all the courses were mainly flat with some slightly different turns and bumps. The gaming arcade was bigger, but the most interesting games were broken, and it also isn’t free anyhows, so we didn’t spend too much time in there. I did like the FlowRider surfing simulator, but most of the time it was too cold outside, so I only tried it a few times. In fact, most of the "swimming" time was spent in the warm whirlpools, since they didn’t have an indoor or heated swimming pool, though I did swim a little when the weather wasn’t too cold. Never got around to try the climbing wall, but I must say, it was a lot taller than the one I tried on the last cruise. It’s actually quite a shame that we never tried it, but, uh, we blame it on the cold weather on deck when the ship was sailing.

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A lot taller than Leon!

The center of the ship has a "shopping street" with various tax-free and souvenir shops, and some cafés and restaurants, where the food was "free" (included in the ticket price), except for the Ben&Jerry’s which costed money. I must say we hardly ever spent any time there except for when eating at the restaurant there. The shops didn’t really impress more than on the previous smaller ship.

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The food on the ship is really what I liked the most, and this time they didn’t have to shut down the ice cream machine because of fear for spreading stomach illness! While some of the food on the buffet was quite plain and boring, as it usually is on buffets, some of it was quite delicious!

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The ship docked at Cannes in France, Livorno in Italy (from where we travelled to Florence and Pisa), and Civitavecchia in Italy (we went to Rome from here), before going back to Barcelona. We were quite lucky with the weather, it was mostly sunny without being too hot to bear walking around the cities! We went to many famous landmarks and saw tons of tourists taking photos of them holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa and queuing to see the Pope or whatever. I did go to Rome with class once before, but I didn’t notice before this time just how many old buildings there are next to each other there! It’s actually quite amazing to think that 2000 years ago the Roman people were walking around on the very same builidings that are still there now.

I see that I haven’t updated the blog in almost two months now, and I really wish I would manage to get myself to make more smaller updates instead of a few large ones. Hum… I’ll just make a really short summary of things I’ve done the last two months:

  • Went to Easter Camp in the beginning of April, it was nice seeing people, we went to a different camp site this time. It was quite cozy!
  • My parents had a 30 years wedding celebration. I made a video, you can see it on Facebook if you’ve added me there. The cruise is actually also for celebrating the anniversary!
  • Went to a public swimming pool with the youth group, it was pretty fun, with water slides, wave pool and tons of parents with little kids pooing in the pool.
  • Went to a few friends’  birthday parties, tried making Sachertorte, though both times it didn’t quite turn out 100% successful. But the taste was great!
  • Finished Mass Effect 2 and Bayonetta. Must say that even though I wasn’t that hyped for Mass Effect 2, I really got hooked on the game and story! I would buy Mass Effect 3 if it weren’t that I already have so many games I’m trying to finish, but also that I heard the ending was really bad. (Not that it stopped me from buying the Crystal edition of Final Fantasy XIII-2 when I saw it being cheap. Also Diablo III.) Bayonetta was quite difficult, fortunately it has quite a lot of checkpoints, even in the middle of the boss fights, so it wasn’t too frustrating. I liked the over-the-top action and cutscenes in that game!
  • Also finished Chaos Rings Omega, which unlike the original Chaos Rings, doesn’t require you to play through the same stages four times to get to the real ending. I do kind of like the story in these games, as simplistic and predictable as they are. Will consider getting Chaos Rings II when I manage to finish more of my other games. Or when it’s on sale and I end up giving in to buying it after all.

 

Huh, according to that website about the Crystal edition, it says it comes with a T-shirt? I haven’t even opened the box yet since I figured I wouldn’t have time to play the game yet. Oh well, I’ll have a look. After that, Diablo III!

 

Posted by on 2012-05-25 in Uncategorized

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Paris

Was in Paris last weekend with my brothers and some other friends. It was surprisingly cold! While the temperature itself wasn’t that much colder than Norway, it felt colder, might be because Paris is more humid than Norway…? But the weather was clear, so we got to see the sightseeing spots pretty well at least!

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The Eiffel tower, also a lamp post that I now see stands out kinda prominently in this photo. Meh.

I found out that my Galaxy Nexus has a panorama mode, it is pretty neat! Got some cool panorama photos from the Eiffel Tower. I guess a good thing about going to Paris in winter is that there is probably a lot less tourists. We still had to queue to get up the Eiffel Tower, but I’m sure the queue must’ve been much shorter than during summer. Probably. Or it could’ve been negated by the fact that they only opened one eleveator instead of multiple ones. Anyways we had also bought tickets beforehand so we could take the shorter queue.

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I probably didn’t hold the phone straight enough when panning, so the last two panoramas ended up unstraight. To my defense my hands were cold and numb.

We had a few nice meals, although on the three course menus we generally didn’t like all the courses. Foie gras wasn’t really to our taste, but I guess it could’ve been the restaurant we chose that didn’t make it well? I wouldn’t know, probably won’t try it again. I did like the Chinese style frog legs I had at the Chinese restaurant which Beyoncé visits when she goes to Paris (according to the owner, he had a photo on the wall with him, his wife and Beyoncé). Don’t remember the name of the restaurant though. Other than that I had pretty ordinary food. Oh, I did try "Sliver of kangaroo" at a hotel, but it tasted so much like normal beef that I’m still not sure if I just got an ordinary beef steak. Oh, had one KFC lunch. Just because we can.

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From left to right: Chinese style frog legs, lamb shank, dumplings (xiao long bao)

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From left to right: Skewered scallops, dessert (macaroon, chocolate fondant and vanilla ice cream), sliver of kangaroo

Unfortunately our flight back on Sunday was cancelled, and while we did get a new flight on Monday and also free hotel for the night, we ended up waiting at the airport almost the whole day to get our hotel rooms, so we couldn’t go for more sightseeing. Also the sucky Formula 1 hotel didn’t accept the first voucher we got, so we had to go back to the airport to get a new voucher for another hotel… Additionally, it was very difficult to get taxis because most of them wouldn’t drive in the snow, so we had some trouble getting around. On Monday we went to the wrong bus stop and almost couldn’t get to the airport in time, but eventually we managed to get a taxi. My brother (who ended up in another hotel) said that the bus was almost full anyways (because so many people got their flights cancelled and were staying at hotels around the airport), so even if we were on the right stop, we might not have gotten on the bus!

Eventually we got back home.

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I spent most of this week getting all the Riddler’s trophies/challenges. Finally got 100%, though it was kinda disappointing that the Riddler sidequest was finished before I got 100% of the trophies… but I can understand the choice to make it easier to finish the sidequest for those who don’t want to spend all that time doing all the trophies and challenges. I probably won’t try to play through all the challenge maps, probably I’ll play another console game now. Hmm…. Dead Rising 2? Mass Effect 2? I think I kinda feel like playing some short action games first though.

The Secret of Chateau de Moreau

I bought The Secret of Chateau de Moreau on my iPad, Enoch told me about this game. It’s a point and click type of adventure game with some puzzles and visual novel elements. The handdrawn graphics and music style is very similar to Hotel Dusk, and the "present evidence and explain alibis" part of the game resembles Ace Attorney (Phoenix Wright) a little. Plus there are a number of different puzzles, kinda like Professor Layton (and a lot of other adventure games too I guess). The Secret of Chateau de Moreau doesn’t feel quite as polished as the mentioned games though, the interface sometimes feels kinda "simple" and not as smooth as console games, and there are noticable spelling errors in the game text. Also the music, while good, seems to consist of rather short tunes, so you’ll notice that the music is looped after maybe roughly half a minute.

The story follows an adopted son of a rich family, who has recently returned after studying abroad, because his adoptive father has just died. It is then revealed that the father was poisoned, and you get four days to find out what happened. Each day (at least as far as I’ve played) plays as a regular adventure game where you have to walk around, talk to people, pick up items and find out where (and how) to use them, solve puzzles to get more items, etc. At the end of the day the main character have to explain what he’s found out to the his siblings, trying to prove people (and himself) innocent (or guilty).

The story is interesting if not very unique. I do feel like I want to find out who the murderer is, and also finding out more about each of the siblings! And there are a few comical characters and scenes to break up the seriousness in the rest of the game, which makes it not as "heavy" as Hotel Dusk. I quite like this game so far, I only wish it was available on the Android (since I had mostly stopped carrying my iPad around after I got my new phone). Hopefully similar games will be released for Android in the future.

humblebundleandroid

I also bought the Humble Bundle for Android, although I already had finished a few of the games (finished World of Goo on the PC and Osmos on the iPad). Well it’s partly to support charity, so it’s fine. Anomaly is a decent game at least, and Toki Tori seems interesting (waiting for them to release a version which will work on my Galaxy Nexus). Edge was not that interesting in my opinion, it’s pretty much just running around and trying not to fall down before you reach the exit. (From their trailer it seems like it might get pretty difficult later on, though I haven’t played that far yet.)

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Posted by on 2012-02-11 in Uncategorized

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