Four in February: Culmination


It turned out that I was only about half-way through the story of GTA IV but I still finished the main story.  I’m not sure what I thought as it felt extremely bloated and like it should have been multiple games.  More about that here.  I started one of the DLC stories but I doubt that I’ll play through much of it.

Super Mario Galaxy

I actually had already captured enough stars about five years ago to fight Bowser so I did that and then restarted the game with the idea of getting 100%.  I’m currently only 45 stars in (out of a total of 121) now so I still have a bit to go.  The game is completable at 60 stars but and I finished it I had 74.

The Legend of Zelda (NES)

This one was a huge fail.  I only made it through two of the nine levels and that was after looking online for a map of the over-world. I’ll probably keep trying to play through it but might tackle it with a pen and paper next time to draw out the map.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

This was the last one on my list but actually the first I completed in February.  While the majority of the game was extremely easy, the difficulty ramped up at some spots.  I’m still playing it to get 100% and have been enjoying the post game.

League of Legends

LoL wasn’t on my initial list but it crept in when I learned that a couple friends were playing it.  I didn’t get to play it as much as I’d like but the matches I did get in were extremely fun.

Four in February: GTA IV

To update progress of my Four in February: I finished GTA IV but not without a lot of headaches. I was actually only about half way into the game and not three quarters as I had remembered. While playing, I couldn’t help but wonder just how much time Rockstar had spent QA testing the latter stage of the game. I understand that the majority of users will only the start of the game but I ran into numerous issues that should have been caught.

I’ll try not to mention many spoilers but let’s face it, it’s a six year old game, you’ve probably played it by now if you care.  The final event is a chase between the protagonist and the antagonist of the moment (of which there were several). A few things that happened during the event that caused failure and required a restart.

  • The character being chased disappeared mid-event and the game assumed that he had “escaped”.
  • A car carrying a couple additional enemies never rendered so the next stage of the event never began.
  • A vehicle didn’t allow me to use it even though I previously had.
  • A helicopter used as part of the event disappeared at the worst possible moment.

Normally I don’t mind much if I have to replay a part of a game but it did seem odd that I had so many issues in a short amount of time. I did notice was that the restart point for the failed mission was at the start of the on-foot portion instead of at the beginning of the cut scene like pretty much every other mission in the game. This made me wonder if this was done because the mission was known to be problematic and allowed the player to skip roughly five minutes of cut scenes and driving before the event begins.

These issues could have handled by the game scripting.  No script that affects an end user should be blocking (video game or not) and if it does accidentally block then the script should always err in favor of the user.  If the hypothetical helicopter bugs and disappears then a boat should circle around so the user has a chance to start moving forward again.

The game itself was entertaining and engaging but at the same time it felt extremely time bloated in order to hit an excessive number of hours to completion. The majority of the completion time is spent driving from point A to point B with no goal short of getting to your destination. This wasn’t overly exciting for me as I drive to the grocery store often enough with the same goal: to get there.  Story-wise it could have used a lot of work as there were quite a few shifts in story where you could tell the writers changed and it could have easily been split into two or three games.

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Four in February

I was inspired by the Four in February game completion challenge that I read about on Joystiq.  It requires completing four games by the end of February but is lax on whether or not you have played them in the past.  It’s sort of like the National Novel Writing Month for gamers.

January Completions

New Super Mario Bros. 2
This completion was fairly easy to cross off as there were only two more levels to reach the final castle. The final fight was fun and I started collecting missed star coins after completion.
Pokemon Y

Pokemon Y was fairly easy compared to past installments.  I seemed to stay leveled far ahead of the gyms and breezed through the main game, final four and leader.  With the head start I got on the Kalos region pokedex from my January travel, I might actually try to complete it.

Four in February Challenge


I’m not really sure why I stopped playing this about 3/4 into the main story.  I really enjoyed the game.

Super Mario Galaxy

This one was interesting because I only had a handful of levels left when I called it. I did enjoy the levels but the difficulty just ramped up drastically near the end and I lost interest.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
Luigi’s Mansion for the 3DS was fun from what I played — the first twenty minutes. I want to give it a serious chance.
The Legend of Zelda
Given the number of sequels that I have played, I feel a bit embarrassed to admit that I never played the original.  Especially given that I have owned it on the NES, Wii Virtual Console and 3DS Virtual Console.

Reveal Hidden I-Beam in Xcode

Can you see it?
Can you see it?

If you use a dark color scheme in Xcode, you have undoubtably noticed that the I-Beam is nearly invisible and that there is no setting to adjust the color of the cursor. The fix is fairly simple but it requires changing the cursor’s image file inside of the Xcode application package.

For Xcode 5, the image file is located within:


Simply open DVTIbeamCursor.tiff in your favorite photo editor and invert the colors.  Restart Xcode after you are done and the new cursor should load.

2014: Year of the Backlog

I have too many video games. There, I said it. Until recently I have considered myself a gamer but only now do I instead see myself as a collector.

Over the holidays I sat down and made a list from memory of the titles that I have purchased, started and never actually completed. This list reached one hundred items very quickly and contained titles such as The Legend of Zelda, Neverwinter Nights and Skyrim. I loved playing these games but all three remain incomplete in my backlog. Neverwinter Nights and Skyrim both had expansions and downloadable content and I bought it all. Zelda was purchased for multiple systems (NES, Wii and 3DS). I expect that this list will grow even more once I open Steam and start looking through various boxes with game cases in them.

I want to see exactly what had excited me so much that I felt the need to spend money on each game only to play for an hour or two. Plus why they have remained in my possession over the years with the realization that I will never play them?

Due to this I have decided that 2014 will be the Year of the Backlog. The majority of my gaming will be of games that I already possess and I will refrain from adding any to the stack*. Afterwards I’ll find somewhere that I can donate each game to.

Plus this can only help me realize another goal that I have for this year – to blog more.

Game on!

* In the event that something comes out that I really want, I will allow myself to add one new title for every ten that are crossed off.

I write software programs for portable telephones.