Classics, done right –

I cannot get enough of, and finally, my dream from nearly two years ago has come true. Wing Commander is available on GoG. My all time favorite game, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, is on GoG – DRM free, inexpensive, and a quick and easy download. Not only the game. The free bonus content included is INSANE. Included, but not limited to the following, are: behind the screens video, the Wing Commander Bible, and the Fleet Action novel!! An amazing value. Other games in the Wing Commander series are available on the site, too.

Seriously, I have no time to be blogging this. Go buy some Wing Commander goodness – and don’t even think about pirating it, it’s worth your $6!

Greed in Gaming – why I'm worried

The prices of games don’t worry me, let’s get that out of the way. I like where they’re at right now. I can stand the price points, if I have to, and I’m always glad to see that consoles are being revised, but prices are still coming down. Very exciting.

I also think that the PlayStation Network trying to get everyone to go with the PlayStation Plus membership is understandable. Having an infrastructure the size of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live isn’t free.

BUT PC gaming was always free!!! Yes, and PC Gaming has always been decentralized. Even at the end of life for most games, a patch would be released that would allow people to host their own switching servers that would list all of the game servers. These things don’t happen much any more (anybody seen any Matrix Online sandbox servers?), but more importantly: this doesn’t happen in console games.

You see, I’m not writing because games are too expensive, or the online services are – but this attempt to make a buck by making us register to play your game online? This worries me. Not just because of the price, but because of the problems that these greedy publishers are causing in the long term.

Earlier this week, I awoke and wanted to play some more of the single player races in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. I was connected to Xbox Live, but I was not connected to NFS’s “autolog” server, it appeared to be down. Maybe there was an issue with my modem or router or something else, but it shouldn’t matter. I’m on Xbox Live, I’m on the internet – I should NEED to be VERIFIED by your server, just to play the game that I purchased, particularly if I want to play it offline!

These new off-site servers have been a fear of mine as long as online gaming and DRM has existed. Nobody likes it, but they keep pushing it on us, to protect their product. Here’s the thing: Microsoft protects your product via Xbox Live. Leave me alone. I don’t need another middle-man.

Season Pass for EA Sports games. Call of Duty Elite. Autolog for Need for Speed. Mortal Kombat’s Kombat Pass. These are all ways that the developers want to make an extra buck. So far they have “graciously” included the services with retail copies of the game, but as demonstrated in my experience with Autolog – membership or not, it doesn’t matter… if the service is inaccessible, so is your game – even if you just want to play locally.

The other games may not follow the same “authentication first” formula, but all of these little middleman services worry me, and they’re all in an effort to reduce piracy, and make a few dollars from the used games industry, which, in my opinion, is solely motivated by greed.

X-Men for Android and iPhone

There was a big announcement, a while back, that the classic Arcade game X-Men was released for iPhone. Quietly, the same day, it was released on the Android.

Yes, in 1992 one of my favorite games of all time found it’s way into arcades. And until recently, it hadn’t found it’s way into my home. But recently it was released on Xbox Live, then a matter of weeks later, it appeared on handsets.

The day it released, they were asking for $2.99 (which I gleefully paid as one of the first 250 downloaders, according to the Android Market). It is currently showing as only 99 cents, so I would encourage anyone to pick it up right away.

The game itself plays just like the original arcade version, though it does use the re-recorded voices found in the console re-release (don’t worry, your favorite Engrish has been faithfully recreated). On my Evo Shift I noticed absolutely no slow downs, after multiple playthroughs – with several sprites battling it out on the screen I was able to keep up and keep on beating’em up!.

On screen controls were fine, and mostly responsive. I see some complaints on Market reviews of people wishing they were smaller, but I like them the way they are. I just wish the Punch button and the Special button were swapped, because I am constantly accidentally exiting back to my Home Screen, because of the positioning of the physical buttons and the horizontal orientation of the game.

Despite the very few shortcomings of the controls, the game is a fun way to kill time, looks and sounds authentic, and even supports OpenFeint rewards, for Achievement junkies like me (what? Just because it isn’t Xbox Live doesn’t meant I don’t enjoy seeing the points pile up!).

There was a problem sending the command to the program – Excel

I deal with this one, time and time again, within the Help Desk. What causes it to trigger, I’m not certain. But one day, when trying to open Excel 2007 XLS documents, I come to the error message that says “There was a problem sending the command to the program.” If this happens to you, the solution is typically quick and easy. I have yet to see it in Excel 2010, but the solution is most likely the same. When greeted with “There was a problem sending the command to the program here’s what you do:

  • Click on the Office Button (in the upper left, where the File Menu was in Office XP and is in Office 2010).
  • Click Excel Options at the bottom.
  • Click Advanced on the left.
  • Scroll all the way down and look for the longest option, named “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE).”
  • UNCHECK that box.

That’s it! Exit Excel 2007 and test it! This should be the solution to your error “problem sending the command” error.