Games I’ve Been Playing

I was thinking about it this week and even though I am a casual gamer I have been playing a lot of different games. Between playing Steam games on both Mac and Windows, OnLive games on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad games I realized I have been playing a lot of different games. Here are my thoughts on some of them.

Trine

I bought Trine as a part of the latest Humble Bundle and play it on the Mac through Steam.

This is such a great side-scroller. You play the rolls of a thief with a bow, a fighter with armor and a sword, and a wizard with the ability to create and move objects. You can switch between the three party members at any time, only one character is on the screen at a time, to complete the tasks presented.

The graphics are amazing, the music is mesmerizing, the voice acting sets the mood wonderfully, and the challenges presenting are a lot of fun.

I am not finished with it, only played for 4 hours so far, but am really looking forward to finishing it.

Red Faction: Guerrilla

I bought this game as one of OnLive’s $5 Friday deals and play it on Macs.

I am enjoying this game, it is ok, and it was a good value at $5, but… it is not great. After about 5 hours of gameplay I am getting a bit bored at the repetition of it.

It is a first person shooter (FPS) with drivable vehicles and multiplayer support. I am playing through the single player campaign. The single-player story has you on Mars as a miner turned rebel fighting to free the planet from the rule of the EDF who treat the miners poorly.

For an FPS the plot is ok, the mechanics are ok, the weapons are ok, but I am finding the effort to get new weapons and upgrades tedious.

I am not sure I will finish this game, but I plan on playing it at least another couple of hours before dropping it.

iPhone and iPad

I am playing the usual games of Sol Free, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Infinity Blade, ReBounce, Rage, and Azkend.

More than any other game though I am playing Zynga Poker. It is ok on the iPhone and very cluttered/confusing in a web browser, but on the iPad it is great.

Trine I rate a 9 out of 10
Red Faction: Guerilla I rate a 5 out of 10
Zynga Poker for the iPad I rate a 9 out of 10, on the iPhone a 7 out of 10, and in a web browser a 4 out of 10.

Canon 7D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S. Young

I read this book on Safari Books Online.

I bought my wife "Canon PowerShot G12: From Snapshots to Great Shots" by Jeff Carlson and decided to read the version for the 7D after flipping through it.

I think I first heard about Nicolesy, the aurthor’s online moniker, while listening to a podcast with Leo Laporte. According to her web site she is lifestyle photographer that sells images through iStockphoto and Getty Images along with being the author of 3 books; Canon 7D: From Snapshots to Great Shots, EOS Canon 60D: From Snapshots to Great Shots and Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots and a "Help Desk Specialist" with the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. I remember enjoying her conversations on Leo’s podcasts and thinking that she had an interesting point of view.

Canon 7D: From Snapshots to Great Shots appears to be targeted at the beginner photographer but as an experienced photographer I enjoyed reading it. For the beginner it does a great job of explaining the mechanics of the camera and techniques for capturing photographs as they are envisioned. I really appreciate the quality of the example photographs along with the explanations that point out why they would be considered good pictures, I think such information is vital to all photographers and something we need more of.

From the publisher:

This book has one goal: to teach Canon 7D owners how to make great shots using your camera. Starting with the top ten things you need to know about the 7D — charging your battery, setting your ISO, reviewing your photos, and more — professional photographer Nicole S. Young then carefully guides you through the modes of the camera, offering practical advice on choosing your settings, expert shooting tips, and end-of-chapter "challenges" to get you up and running with your 7D. This book is for anyone who has upgraded from a point-and-shoot, or who wants to jump right into photography with the control and capabilities of a powerful DSLR.

I rate this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to all 7D owners.

David Busch’s Compact Field Guide for the Canon EOS 7D

The Compact Field Guide for the Canon® EOS® 7D is better than the user manual but not by much. It is written in clearer language and many settings are better explained than in the manual, but it is not very thorough, does not include examples, nor go into details about why you may choose one setting over another. The author has also written a much larger book entitled “David Busch’s Canon EOS 7D: Guide to Digital SLR Photography” which is said to cover the 7D in much greater detail.

From the author:

Just the essentials for your Canon EOS 7D
When a command card doesn’t provide enough information, and a small camera guide has too much padding, pull this Compact Field Guide for your Canon 7D out of your camera bag and get the advice and recommendations you need quickly.

I don’t believe you can have too much of a good thing, but readers who have been using my 500-page in-depth guide to master their Canon 7D have asked me to distill the most essential information into a portable field guide for on-the-go reference. In the approximately 150 pages of this lay-flat, spiral-bound book, you’ll find in-depth descriptions of every control, menu option, and capability of the Canon 7D. Each choice is accompanied by my recommendations and a description of when you should or should not use a particular setting.

I rate this book an 8 out of 10 and useful for Canon 7D users who need a replacement for the user’s manual.