11th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards

Feb 10, 2008 in Games, Kamil

Interactive Achievement AwardsGaming is a multi-billion dollar industry in fact it has been bigger than the movie industry since around 2004 in terms of revenue. Yet this award show has been done and covered in a pretty non-spectacular almost an amateur way that I think actually works as the event seems rather genuine and natural unlike the film industry’s awards ceremony, the Oscars. After all who’d take a bunch of computer geeks walking the red carpet wearing latest designer fashion being interviewed by plastic women and obnoxious men seriously… people still seem genuine in this business which adds to its appeal and makes recruiting easier. I believe it also lowers the perceived barriers to entry and encourages people with new ideas to try them as they may feel that it’s easier to approach the industry insiders, just check out the Independent Games Festival at each year’s Game Developers Conference for some of the most unusual games you’ll ever see. This leads to more innovation from smaller developers and more people getting involved in the business despite all the problems that the industry overall faces such as the growing graphical and programming complexities which leads to balooning budgets and development times. Also the people involved in the computer game business will tell you that it’s not all fun and games but that there are some rather serious problems, just look at the lawsuits against Electronic Arts  that came about as a response to a blog post criticizing EA’s practices a few years ago. But enough on that.

The host of the award ceremony for the third year in a row was Jay Mohr an less known actor with a familiar face that you will probably remember from Jerry Maguire as the agent that fires and competes with Tom Cruise’s character.

Check out the fulll video coverage of the February 7th event here.

Here are the Game of the Year winners for the past events. To find out more or to see all winners in individual categories go to the AIAA Wikipedia page.

Game of the Year

Out of 11 Game of the Year winners named by the AIAS, seven are shooters, and all except Ocarina of Time were developed by game studios based in the United States and Western Europe.

Year Game Genre Platform(s) Developer(s)
2008 (11th) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare First-person shooter PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, Mac OS X Infinity Ward
2007 (10th) Gears of War Third-person shooter Xbox 360, Windows, Mac OS X Epic Games
2006 (9th) God of War Action-adventure game PlayStation 2 SCE Studios Santa Monica
2005 (8th) Half-Life 2 First-person shooter PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows Valve Corporation
2004 (7th) Call of Duty First-person shooter N-Gage, Windows, Mac OS X Infinity Ward
2003 (6th) Battlefield 1942 First-person shooter Windows 98, Mac OS Digital Illusions CE
2002 (5th) Halo: Combat Evolved First-person shooter Xbox, Windows, Mac OS X Bungie Studios
2001 (4th) Diablo II Hack and slash Windows, Mac OS, Mac OS X Blizzard North
2000 (3rd) The Sims Life simulation game Windows, Mac OS, Linux Maxis
1999 (2nd) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Action-adventure Nintendo 64 Nintendo EAD
1998 (1st) GoldenEye 007 First-person shooter Nintendo 64 Rareware

San Jose Sharks vs Columbus Blue Jackets

Feb 08, 2008 in Kamil, Sports

San Jose SharksToday with a couple co-workers we went to see the Sharks vs Blue Jackets game at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, courtesy of Hewlett-Packard. I’m ashamed to admit this but after living in San Jose for 14 years this was the first ever Sharks game that I went to. I’ve been to concerts, tennis tournaments and other skating events and shows at the Pavilion (or Arena as it used to be called) but never to a Sharks game. We had good center ice seats in the 5th and the 7th row which is the level that the plexiglass barriers around the ice end at so when a puck goes over it flys just about at your eye level. In the 2nd quarter a slow flying puck flew about 4 feet from my head to the right and landed on some poor woman’s lap across the isle scaring  her. Then in the 3rd quarter following a slap shot pass a puck was heading right for my head but before it had a chance to decapitate me it hit the plexi an inch or two below the edge.

I’m probably going to upset some Sharks fans with this next statement but it’s really astounding the level of almost god like worship that they have for the Sharks’ goalie Evgeni Nabokov. The guy’s uniform basically covers half of the goal so he has a 50-50 chance of “defending” the goal and any half intelligent and not turtle slow person would be able to do the job. Here’s my advice to the NHL teams, get a 500lbs goalie that will cover the entire goal so that he only has to shuffle his skates back and forth to get the full coverage :)

Another co-worker that we did not know was at the game but who was there because he won a charity auction showed up in between quarters riding the Zamboni machine :) We took a lot blackmail photos and videos ;) Overall the game was a a lot of fun to watch and even though all of the sport events are entertaining when watched live the NHL has to be up there as one of the more so. You have players smashed into the wall right in front of you with a loud thud, dynamic gameplay and fights (yes I know “It’s not suppose to be about the fights”) … there were 3 or 4 at this game and during one of them almost the entire both teams got into it with people landing nose first into the ice etc … pure “family” fun. If you don’t want your kids to copy the body slams on their classmates or think that punch to the face is an appriopriate response or a problem solving skill I probably would not bring them to the game (on the other hand that’s what makes it fun to watch for the adults)  :) just as I would not take my kids to a football (soccer) match in the UK in the 80s, except there the violence was off the field.

The Sharks won 2:1 in overtime. Game Recap, Photos and Video Highlits.

February 5th, Super Tuesday

Feb 05, 2008 in Kamil, Politics

So go out and vote if you live in any of the 24 states that are holding primaries today.

Below are a couple of videos featuring Barack Obama. First is the video featuring Jesse Dylan, Will.i.am, Common, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Adam Rodriquez, Kelly Hu, Adam Rodriquez, Amber Valetta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger and Nick Cannon. It’s basically the words from the Barack Obama speech that he gave after coming in 2nd place in the New Hampshire primary put to music. Granted that entertainers are hardly an authority on politics and the main purpose behind this effort is to mobilize young voters to vote for Obama but guess what, it works and the music is decent. I thought it was a pretty good video and I think that the speech itself was superb and as some in the media have called it, memorable.
I was not around when JFK was running for the White House or when he was the president and I’ve only heard his speeches in historical context but I can imagine that the feeling of inspiration listening to JFK speak at the time was very similar to the one I experieced when listening to the speech Obama gave. Real or not Obama brings hope, energy and excitement to the politics that this country desperatly was searching for after 8 years of The Dunce at the helm. Whether he brings substance with it remains to be seen.

Yes We Can – Barack Obama Music Video

The 2nd Video is the New Hampshire speech in its entirity. I have to say that it sounded much better on the radio when I listened to it live for the first time, perhaps because imagination has more room to play without the visual cues that a video puts right in front of you. I still think it’s a very inspirational speech and that Obama has great oratory skills and talented speech writers :).

Barack Obama: Yes We Can

I’ve resurrected this one. The third video is a bit “lighter” and older clip by Obama Girl – “I got a crush on Obama”. Hey B. it’s me, and the chorus … Barack Obama, bama, ama ama… funny stuff. My only comment – Some people have too much free time… but at least it’s pleasant to watch.

“I Got a Crush…On Obama” By Obama Girl

For the record I don’t consider myself ideologically aligned with left or right, Democrat or Republican or any third party but rather subscribe to the idea of aurea mediocritas. I would probably be labeled a conservative on some issues like the immigration, economy and education where as I might be called a liberal when discussing foreign policy or other social issues besides the ones mentioned above. It really really bothers me however when someone is a mouthpiece for one side or the other and tries to make money off the controversy they create (on purpose or through ignorance). I put the next person in the same category as the environmentalists that threathen lawsuits or boycotts as a form of blackmail to get ransom from corporations or govermnets. I found the next clip when looking through the website that produced the Obama Girl music video.
The source aside I feel pretty strongly about this subject as it has been bothering me for a while. For those of you outside US or who don’t know her you can read about the “heroine” of the next song here. Some of the things she says I might have said myself while trying to be an a-hole or play devil’s advocate in a classroom or dorm argument but to actually think there is someone out there that holds a combination of opinions as skewed as she does and says all of these things with a straight face, meaning every word she utters is at the very least scary. And even scarier is the fact that the media gives this nutcase airtime. Not independent media, mostly Fox News but still airtime is airtime… I guess sex sells all kinds of merchandise including ideas (and her books) otherwise limited to fringes of society. On that thought, perhaps someday Ms. Coulter is going to have her own Sturmabteilung Barbie doll to peddle.

Perfected: The Ann Coulter Song

It’s Friday!!!

Jan 31, 2008 in Funny, Kamil

Rather than polluting your inbox with some “funniest jokes ever” I’ll put funny items I come accross on here so that you can look at them (or not) of your own free will. The only problem I noticed with this approach is that I find a lot of obscure videos funny and there is no room for all of them. The easiest solution would be just to copy the entire (almost) YouTube library but we can’t do that can we. So instead, just check out the related videos that show after the one I posted on here finishes playing (Chose a video to watch, hit play, when that video stops a lot of little videos will show up in it’s place that are related to the original).

Funny Berlitz commercial, oldie but a goodie

Macbook Air spoof

Macbook Air spoof #2

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft in an ad from 1984 for Windows 1.0. Ad was meant as a joke for an internal conference at M$. I’ve heard that MS actually considered using this very same ad for Vista but they gave up because it would cost too much to re-shoot due to one significant change … Reversi has been substituted with Solitaire back in Windows 3.1 …

Steve Ballmer again. This time at a Microsoft Developers Conference … with soundtrack … and … passion?!?:
I found this one a long time ago on Fake Steve Jobs blog – FakeSteve’s blog is quite possibly the funniest thing on the web IMHO. I’m sure Steve B. is a nice guy, in this video however he does come accross a bit… scary.

I’m not sure if this is for real or not, you be the judge of how “badass” they are

Merry Christmas

Dec 27, 2007 in Family, Kamil

Merry Christmas by dimantIt’s my favorite time of the year again. We spent the Christmas Eve at my parent’s place stuffing ourselves with great food. Last year we organized the party at our place for friends and family. Everyone made one dish which with 20+ people at the table provided for quite a culinary treat with all the special regional dishes or variations on the classics that I myself have never tasted before.

This year we had a traditional Polish Christmas Eve supper with 12 (or 13?) dishes. The supper stared with homemade barszcz z uszkami (beetsoup with mushroom dumplings), which was followed with halibut cooked in onions, herring in oil, herring in sour cream with apples and onions, a vegetable-potato salad, broiled halibut with potatoes, a dish which name I’ve seen translated as “Hunter’s Stew” and which is basically fresh cabbage and sauerkraut mix cooked with mushrooms ans spices (meat or sausage is added later as the meal on Christmas Eve traditionally could not contain meat other than fish – now it can but some things are still just done out of tradition), special pancakes, a poppy seed and raisin pasta dish, couple different cakes and few other dishes that are considered traditional dishes to eat around Christmas time.

Christmas Party

Dec 08, 2007 in Family, Kamil

One Market Street RestaurantAnia’s law firm organized a Christmas party at the One Market Street Restaurant in San Francisco. Great people, tasty food, open bar and a band playing all the 80s favorites, what more could you ask for? The band started their gig with a church organ music which was a clever way of commenting on the acoustics which were a bit like in a gothic cathedral due to the fact that the beautiful banquet hall is about six stories tall with a metal structure inside and a glass ceiling. It was a great time for everyone and an idea to be applauded especially during times when a lot of companies have given up on Christmas parties. We did not have a camera but I’ve heard there are pictures already online somewhere. I will post an update when I find them.

Update coming soon and Happy Thanksgiving

Nov 22, 2007 in Administrative Messages(ENG)

A lot has happened in the last few weeks. We went to San Diego for my mom’s birthday, and as far as the website is concerned I’ve had some major problems getting the photo gallery online. I’m working on it so expect an update withing days. There will be pictures from our trip to Europe this summer as well as Wiktoria’s first communion, San Jose Grand Prix and other events. One of the problems is that I would like to keep some pictures private and the gallery I am using does not allow for that but I think I have found a workaround.

Those of you in the United States have a great Thanksgiving and try not to eat too much. ;-)

 See you soon.

Saturday: Sea World San Diego, Believe Show and more

Nov 08, 2007 in Family, Kamil

Sea Wrold Believe On Saturday we went to the Sea World. Originally we we planning to go to the Legoland this day but we decided to switch the schedule due to the fact that Sea World has probably more things to see and we were not sure how much time/energy we would have on Sunday and if we would be able to spend a whole day at another park. Also in case we had to leave early to make it to the Airport on time.

We had a great fun at the Sea World with the most noteworthy show being the Believe killer whale show in which Wiktoria participated. You can see the photos in the Believe Show Gallery. The kids also got the pet the dolphins and interact with all kinds of other animals.

 Later that day we had a nice late dinner at the Arterra Restaurant / Lounge in one of their outdoor cabanas. This restaurant is very hip and serves good food (we had the sushi, the Trio of Kobe Sliders and the Prime Rib sandwich) and the atmosphere equal to one of Miami lounges often portrayed on the show CSI:Miami. The Mojitos were also excellent despite being served in thick plastic glasses rather than glass sue to the proximity to the swimming pool. When we walked into the pool – hot tub area the DJ was playing Timbaland’s Promiscous Girl, a group of people was having drinks in the jacuzzi and another group was dancing in the cabana next to ours so me and Ania just looked at each other then up at the hotel above as we both made the same connection with CSI:Miami and we were expecting a body to drop into the pool or some other CSI opening moment. – we really do not watch TV that much but if we do it’s the TIVO-ed episodes of CSI :)

Friday: San Diego Zoo

Nov 02, 2007 in Family, Kamil

San Diego Zoo LogoOn Friday Alex and Wiktoria went to the San Diego Zoo with their grandparents. Alex says his favorite animals were the snakes because “Joe, and grandma and cici like snakes” and both kids enjoyed the meerkat exhibit as they are their school mascots. Wiktoria however liked the sea otters the most and grandparents liked the panda bears, so the opinions are varied as to the favorite animal. Joe or Maria can add more details about the visit to the zoo…

 When looking at the San Diego Zoo’s web page I noticed that they also use WordPress for their blog (side note for the techies).

The weekend: San Diego Zoo, Sea World and the LEGOLAND

Nov 01, 2007 in Family, Kamil

Family weekend in San Diego. My parents took the kids with them on Friday morning and spent the day at the San Diego Zoo. We flew in on Friday night at around 10pm. The trip was planned for my Mom’s birthday so that she would be able to spend time with the whole family. It was a fun weekend especially for the kids who went to bed exhausted with each day’s activities and with heads full of new memories. We spent Saturday at the Sea World then Sunday we went to the Legoland had dinner in the San Diego’s Old Town and flew back to San Jose. Since we had so much fun at each place I thought I’d split up the posts to highlight some of the attractions at each location.

This was about a week after the  2007 Southern California fires have been put out and there was still a lot of FEMA and other government agencies in town making it pretty hard to find hotel rooms.