Don't Shoot the Food – Green Lantern Pie Edition

No High Scores

I’ve been playing a lot of Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters for review purposes lately. It’s not a bad game. It takes wholesale from God of War and waters it down to be more kid friendly, but it’s competent at what it’s trying to do. As movie games go, it’s much better than what we usually get. As action games go, it’s pretty much middle of the road. Hey, look, I just saved you the hassle of reading my review.

Any way, playing GL got me thinking about green foods for this week’s column and as the only green things I could come up with were vegetables and Green Eggs and Ham, all seemed lost until I remembered Grasshopper Pie. Yes, I know, another pie. What can I say? I love pies and I love baking pies and Grasshopper Pie is not only very easy but it’s easily one of my favorites. It’s somewhat on the expensive side if you don’t already have creme de menthe or creme de cacoa, like I didn’t the first time I made it, but, the plus side is that once you have the liquor, you can make a whole bunch of pies, or a whole bunch of drinks, or a whole bunch of both. You don’t need to buy the green colored creme de menthe, as it comes in clear as well, but where’s the fun in that? Not only is that not very grasshopper-y, but it’s not very Green Lantern-y either.

Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie

Ingredients
1. 1 large store bought graham cracker crust or home made graham cracker crust – I buy them from the store. I ain’t got time for all of this baking when there’s delicious, minty drinks to be consuming.
2. About a quart of vanilla ice cream
3. 1/4 cup whole milk
4. 5 cups mini marshmallows
5. 3 TBL creme de menthe
6. 2 TBL creme de cacoa
7. 1 1/4 cup cold heavy or whipping cream
8. 1/4 confectioners’ sugar

Cooking steps
1. Once you get your hands on a crust, refrigerate it until you need it.
2. Put the ice cream in the fridge for about 15 minutes to soften it up. Once the ice cream is soft, spoon it into the crust and press it in evenly. Be careful not to crack the crust. If you do, it’s not a total deal breaker, but presentation is everything! Smooth out the ice cream and then put the whole thing back in the freezer until the filling is done.
3. Find a metal bowl to use for making the whipped cream and place it, along with your beaters in the fridge or freezer.
4. Combine the milk and marshmallows in a large saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring frequently until the marshmallows are fully melted. Once everything is melted, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
5. Once the marshmallow mixture is cooled, stir in the creme de menthe and creme de cacao.
6. Using your chilled bowl and beaters, whip the heavy cream until it holds soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat well. You want the whipped cream to be stiff, but not taste like a mouthful of sand.
7. Fold the marshmallow-liquor mixture into the whipped cream and mix until fully incorporated. Have a taste. Go ahead, it’s ok. Minty, right? Well, don’t worry, it will mellow out over time.
8. Smooth your cream-marshmallow-liquor concoction over the top of the pie and freeze for at least three hours. I know waiting is tough, but this pie tastes much better the next day when the mint has had a chance to mellow out a bit. Plus, because it’s kept in the freezer, you don’t have to worry about anything getting soggy.

So there you have it, easy, minty, green, delicious. Hard to argue with such a mix.

I’m going to be on vacation next week, so you’ll be on your own in the kitchen for a week. Try not to burn the place down while I’m gone.

Still hungry? Check out the Don’t Shoot the Food archive.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Annihilation Trailer


Enjoy.

Chaos in the Old World: Horned Rat Expansion in Review


My review of the new Chaos in the Old World Expansion, The Horned Rat, has gone live at Gameshark.com. It’s a good one.

Chaos in the Old World was my pick for our Game of the Year award back in 2009, and it just continues to grow in stature. I think it’s one of the best games of the decade when you add in this expansion- having a fifth god increases the brutality and violence in the game, which is exactly what should happen given its setting and principal figures.

See, I don’t always slam FFG…just when they release overpriced, over-exploited, and underdeveloped garbage.

FemShep Finally Getting Her Due in Mass Effect 3

No High Scores

FemShep fans rejoice! The Escapist is reporting that based on tweets from BioWare marketing director David Silverman that not only will FemShep appear on the game’s Collector’s Edition, but the most ass-kicking renegade in the history of the universe will also get her own trailer. Sure, she may not be canonical, but those of us that fly the FemShep banner know who the real Shepard is. My only hope is that BioWare either changes the default FemShep look to look like the “canonical” FemShep, or they provide the proper values for the facial generation stuff.

Seen at The Escapist.

The Rumor Mill


No High Scores

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was a big fan of the show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It was pretty much just me and a half dozen other Aaron Sorkin acolytes who are universally in love with what it says about our under-appreciated intelligence that we’re the only ones who really “get” the man’s writing. One scene I particularly liked from the show is when the character of Jordan McDeer gives an interview with Time magazine. She gets an inane question about her personal life, justified with the always popular, “talk in the industry,” and proceeds to take the man down a peg when she says, “I think you’re reporting on what you and the guy in the cubicle next to you were talking about at lunch. And that makes you a hairdresser and a cockfight promoter.” (See time code 7:37 of this clip.)

That line occurs to me a lot when I read about “rumors” or “talk” in the gaming press. Now, before I pull out my high and mighty pedestal, in which I pretend I’m somehow above the influence of mundane rumors, let’s be clear: I’m not saying rumors have no place in our discourse. They’re fun forum fodder. They can generate valuable discussion on more mainstream sites. They have their place. At the same time, I think a lot of big gaming news sites attach the word “rumor” to their stories anytime someone wants to justify writing about something that is completely unsubstantiated or only has the very loosest possible sourcing. This went on today with the “news” that Mass Effect 3 may in fact have a multiplayer component…

Multiplayer rumors have swirled around Mass Effect for a good long time, although they’ve picked up steam of late. But it was a specific story that caught my eye today because it then showed up on half a dozen other sites within a couple of hours. Hell, my Twitter feed was loaded with discussion about it. And why not, right? We’re talking about adding multiplayer to what has been a wholly single-player experience. The notion of that actually happening kind of makes me want to vomit in my mouth, but I get I’m in something of a minority there. I had even started to do my own write-up on it before I really read the story. That’s when I decided to throw my post out. Why? Well, let’s look at what they’re actually reporting:

- An unattributed lead that says ME3 is “rumored to feature four-player co-op mode.”
- An “understanding” by the site that it will have four-player co-op as a standalone feature (as well as “competitive elements.”)
- “Current reports” that say ME3 multiplayer includes a Horde-style mode
- A “source” that says Bioware Montreal is creating a multiplayer component for Mass Effect, but cannot confirm if it’s for a separate game or for Mass 3.
- A named source (Muzyka), from a separate interview by the looks of it, that does say, “We haven’t talked at all about multiplayer…” (emphasis mine)
- Mass Effect 3 was delayed from its initial 2011 launch, with a strong implication that the two are connected.

Now, I’m not going to name the site that reported this information because I’m not looking embarrass that site (or the writer) here. Chances are you know exactly what story I’m talking about. If you do, let’s leave them out of it in the comments. I respect the site in question a great deal and this sort of thing goes on everywhere. We’ve done it here. I’ve done it. There’s no nefarious intent and I’m more interested in the discussion than playing holier than thou. But here’s what we have in this story: Not a single named source in the “yay multiplayer” corner. Those first three bullet points? Completely and totally unattributed. Attribution is implied, but it’s not there. There is one person referred to as “a separate source” with absolutely no additional detail. What we do have is Muzyka saying they haven’t talked about multiplayer for Mass “at all.” I’ll grant you that statement strains credibility beyond the breaking point, but it’s the only thing on the record. And the shipping delay? Name for me a AAA game that hasn’t been delayed. One thing does not equal the other. I read all that and I think this is constructed to look like a story, and sound like a story, but it’s just not a story. It’s there because it puts “Mass Effect” and “Multiplayer” in the same title. It’s the epitome of, “there is talk in the industry,” reporting.

Look, rumors are fun. Speculation is fun. I just find it fascinating when something without a toehold of confirmed fact or credible source behind it catches fire like this story seems to have done. (When I say “credible source,” I mean something more than “a source” that makes me think this person knows what they’re talking about. “A source within Bioware,” for example.) What say the rest of you? Do you like it when sites post unconfirmed or only tacitly confirmed rumors or would you rather they wait until there’s something concrete to go on? How much does the tone of the story influence that opinion?

Nicholson Electroplating Arson Case Trailer Has Crazy Damage and Crazy Multimillionaires

The Nicholson Electroplating Arson Case drops for LA Noire next week and has our favorite stoic hero investigating an explosion that did a lot of damage, killed a lot of people and apparently involves Howard Hughes in come capacity. At this point, given that I have every achievement in the game, Phelps can try and solve the Lindbergh baby kidnapping for all I care. I just want the points! Well, that and I like the game, but yeah, I’m all about the points.

Zombie State Games announces Scavengers; includes 1" custom bear figurine


Last year, Zombie State Games put out an interesting but not very good zombie game called, of course, Zombie State. It took a look at the grossly overgamed subject from a global perspective, with nations trying to contain the walkin’ dead while developing technologies to combat them. Some good ideas, but between the worn out theme and some clunky mechanics, it didn’t quite make the cut. This year, they’re going camping. With the Hamburger family. In a light card game called Scavengers, which I doubt will make my review pile but the Zombie State folks are really nice so I don’t mind giving them some press. In a shameless attempt at hit-trolling, I’m hiding the image of the 1″ custom bear figurine that this game ships with past the “read more” below. Go on. You know you want to see it.

There, see. I’m not holding out on you. Press follows.

Each year the Hamburger family escapes into the great outdoors for a liittle rest and relaxation. During their stay eager animals scavenge for food that has been left unattended to take home and make meals of their own.

Light enough to delight brand new gamers and yet versatile enough to intrigue the saltiest veterans, this game is a must have! Scavengers is a card-based family game. The game’s compact box makes it easy to take camping or over to the neighbors for game night. This game is sure to leave your friends and family hungry for more!

Scavengers is an addictive game for 2-4 players ages 10 and up and comes in a compact box approximately 8×5 inches.

The Game Includes

1 custom bear figurine

1 game board (map of the camp ground)

69 food scraps (tokens)

3 crow tokens

44 scavenger cards

24 camper cards

16 food cards

1 rulebook

Expected release date August, 2011. $24.95 retail.

Next up for Marvel Pinball- Captain America

Hot on the heels of last month’s somewhat disappointing Fantastic Four table, ZEN Studios is already announcing a new Captain America table coming to XBLA’s Pinball FX2 platform and PSN the week after next.

I thought Fantastic Four was good, but I really wished that they had gone with a more fun Jack Kirby retro-style. The gameplay was also too easy, and after the simpler Mars table I was hoping for something more challenging like Rome or Blade. Cap looks very promising though- it’s got a retro World War II style which could be really neat. I’m hoping from some tougher modes and more secrets.

Press follows, if you need to be convinced that this will totally be worth three bucks.

EN Studios today announced Captain America as the next Super Hero to star on his own downloadable Marvel Pinball table from ZEN Studios on Xbox LIVE® Arcade and PlayStation®Network. Joining the Amazing Spider-Man, the Invincible Iron Man, Wolverine,Blade and the Fantastic Four Cap and friends are called upon to battle some of the world’s most dangerous Super Villains.

Set in the classic World War II environment inspired by Ed Brubaker’s Captain America 65th Anniversary Special, the table engages Cap, Bucky and members of the Howling Commandos in a full assault on Baron Zemo’s castle, where Zemo’s Death Ray and canisters of Adhesive X must be neutralized. As the game progresses, Cap will need to free his friends in the Howling Commandos and defeat several low-level missions as he works to confront the Sleeper before taking the Cosmic Cube from the Red Skull in the final battle.

The Captain America table follows richly detailed designs and offers another action-packed adventure to the critically acclaimed Marvel Pinball tables already available. For the latest Marvel Pinball news and more details on the Captain America table, visit www.marvelpinball.com.

Captain America will seamlessly integrate into the Pinball FX2 platform on Xbox LIVE® Arcade, and Marvel Pinball platform on PlayStation®Network, with full social feature support. “Fantastic Four” will also feature new Achievements and Trophies, operators menu and rule sheet.

Captain America will be available on June 28, 2011 for PlayStation®Network and June 29, 2011 for Xbox LIVE®Arcade.

The Lord of the Rings War in the North: Eagles


Another new trailer for LOTR: War in the North, this one detailing your eagle ally. The game looks pretty cool, actually, and the people at Snowblind are really excited about it, to put it mildly.

Nintendo's Satoru Iwata on Free Games (He's No Fan)



The Wall Street Journal has a two part interview with Satoru Iwata, discussing all sorts of game related things from the Wii U to the new wave of cheap and sometimes downright free games.

This fellow really hates mobile and social games.

And don’t even go there when it comes to freemium content. Here’s a few snips:

We have no intention to provide a property to any other platforms, or making them available in a mode that does not require consumers to pay at all. Nintendo is a company, which is trying to maintain the overall value of video games.

If we were simply going to say OK, the only the way we could sell more products is by decreasing the price, then there wouldn’t be a bright future and the entire industry will fold. When we look at the entire system of freemium, it’s not always that everyone is happy with the offers. Actually, there’s only a limited number of people who are willing to pay and many others are not paying for game titles at all.

Nintendo is not interested.

I’m not interested in offering software for free of charge. That’s because I myself am one of the game developers, who in the future wants to make efforts so the value of the software will be appreciated by the consumers.

That’s just a small sampling and this entire two part interview is well wroth a read. Iwata may come off a tad dickish here but I certainly understand his point of view and if Nintendo doesn’t want to start charging less for its products, that’s really their business. His view on “software value” is very interesting and I think will be a big battleground in the coming years.