Minecraft: NES Texture Pack

NES Texture Pack Minecraft

So we haven’t really featured a texture pack since we did the Sphax Pure BD pack a while back and that post is still hugely popular. I’ve been running with the default vanilla texture pack for a few patches now because Optifine got behind and I never bothered to download MCPatcher even though it’s available right here on JOB.

This texture pack was featured on Minecraft Forums a few days ago so I picked it up to play with it some. It’s a pretty fun texture pack but like most it has it’s pros and cons.

NES Texture Pack

Right off the bat you’ll see that the texture pack has really great icons and looks very NES’ish. In the screenshot above you’ll notice that the blocks look great from a certain distance and beyond, but up close can be very annoying and noisy.

NES Texture Pack

The trees might be my favorite part of the texture pack. They look very 8-bit while retaining some pretty easy to recognize texture and coloring. The downside is that if you have a good enough computer to run “fancy” graphics – the trees aren’t very transparent.

NES Texture Pack

Creepers look somewhat the same and sand is very repetitive to the eyes as is the ocean/large bodies of water. The sun and moon are round instead of square but fit well with Minecraft’s blocky feel.

NES Texture Pack

The inventory and crafting screen is an eye burning green but is true to old Nintendo games that made a lot of use out of green backdrops to menus and selection screens. The background behind the character in the inventory window is very NES’ish and almost looks straight out of Duck Hunt or Super Mario.

NES Texture Pack

Grass is very smooth and tiles really well. Sand looked fine on the beach but looks a wee bit out of place when you see it in random spots like on top of the stone as seen here. Mobs and animals look good and they did as good of a job as I’d imagine possible to give them a NES type feel to them even though there’s only so much you can do to keep them from looking like normal cows/pigs.

NES Texture Pack

Altogether the texture pack does what it’s set out to do – give Minecraft some retro-Nintendo style graphics. It’s a very novel and fun texture pack but as much time as I spend in caves and in buildings I’ve built I’d have a hard time getting over the noisiness of the textures up close. I did play with it for a while and enjoyed it, so if it’s something you’d be interested in – check out the official Minecraft thread for the texture pack and give it a whirl.

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Sex Offenders Banned from Gaming Networks?

Sex Offenders Banned

Life as a registered sex offender isn’t necessarily easy. There are places you’re not allowed to live near and places you’re not allowed to visit. Just recently legislation has tried to restrict whether or not registered sex offenders can even have access to social networking sites. I’m not here to debate whether or not sex offenders should be allowed onto Facebook or not, but they’re being restricted from more and more online activities – online gaming included.

New York state law requires convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses, screen names, and other online aliases with the state. Companies including Microsoft, Sony, Apple, Blizzard, EA, Disney Interactive, and Warner Bros. are now using this information to block 3,580 users from their networks, according to an announcement made this morning by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

They say the effort is the first of it’s kind to “ensure online video game systems do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators.” There have been cases where someone sexually abused a child after having first met them through something like the Playstation Network or Xbox Live, but does that mean we need to ban a swath of people from using the service? There have been people sexually abused at Ice Cream stores and Walmarts but that doesn’t mean we’re going to prevent registered sex offenders from visiting either of those places.

While acknowledging that current game consoles already have parental controls that could protect children from unwelcome advances, Schneiderman argued that “parents often do not realize that gaming consoles have these capabilities.” Should we instead focus more on informing parents that these capabilities exist or should we just keep adding on things that people who made mistakes aren’t allowed to do any more?

Having people out on parole with particular conditions one thing, but I think we’ve gone very, very far in the wrong direction when it comes to permanent, lifetime punishment. It seems like there’s an ever-increasing banning of prior sex offenders from any productive part of society. People over at Arstechnica have argued “You can’t participate in harmless activities just because kids might be nearby (never mind the fact that your offenses had nothing to do with children). You can’t even play video games online because you might be connected to a child and you might use that to lure them in. None of this is productive at all.”

What is your take on this?

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Orcs Must Die 2 To Have Co-Op

Orcs Must Die 2

If you enjoyed Robot Entertainment’s Orcs Must Die then you’re bound to enjoy it’s sequel which will be playable at Pax East in Boston this weekend. The game was a welcomed change of pace from the normal tower defense games and has been hugely popular on Steam. If you haven’t played it yet – grab a copy of it when it goes on sale (almost constantly on and off sale).

Robot Entertainment has stated that the sequel will have an all new cooperative mode allowing you to play alongside friends. The new two-player mode also means the introduction of a new character, a Sorceress who “keeps enemies at bay with mind-control and magic.” The developers have also promised more enemies, more defenses, and a new upgrade system. Players of the original Orcs Must Die have slaughtered over 3.4 billion orcs so far, Robot Entertainment said, and those who helped contribute to that count will be able to unlock exclusive content in the sequel. I’m all for supporting a system that gives you some fun features in a sequel if you played the original.

For now, check out the trailer!

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