You Ate Your Weighted Companion Cube More Quickly Than Any Subject on Record

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This morning I got an email from Fred Zeleny saying that I needed to check out his birthday cake downstairs in the kitchen. Knowing that Fred likes to dress as a Fallout Raider and even put a Fallout sign in his hair, I was anxious to see the cake with my own eyes. Still, walking down the stairs, I couldn’t shake the vision of the cake you see at the end of Portal (sorry, SPOILERZ!). You can imagine the look on my face when I this concoction instead.

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What we’re playing: 2008 games!

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Can you believe how fast January came and went? With 2008 kicking into gear, I’m seeing less Mass Effect and The Orange Box and more Rez HD, Poker Smash!, No More Heroes, and Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Of course, not everyone has moved on. Take Associate Producer Tim Lamb — I did some checking, and it looks like you have to go back to late October to find the last time he wasn’t gung ho for Call of Duty 4.

Here’s what Tim and the rest of the gang are playing over the weekend…

Craig “I Jinxed the Patriots” Lafferty, Producer: Culdcept Saga, Devil May Cry, 4, Poker Smash!, Rez HD, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin DS – yeah, for like 15 minutes each.

Jenna Noland, QA:
No More Heroes.

Gavin Carter, Producer: Nursing my Advance Wars: Days of Ruin addiction. Continuing the slog towards my A-class license in Burnout. Fighting the Tax Man and trying to get the lowest score possible.

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Daryl returns with another Portal map

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Back in November, we posted about a Portal Map, Ren_Test2, that our very own Daryl Brigner designed. Daryl, and the rest of us at the office, were surprised and excited to see the response it received. In addition to becoming the most popular post on Bethesda Blog, buzz about the map spread to numerous gaming blogs and it was even featured in a recent issue of PC Zone.

Well, Daryl’s done it again. This morning he let me know that a new level, appropriately titled_Ren Test3, is now available for download. In addition to the new map, Daryl has included Ren_Test 1&2 in the same download. The download also offers Step, Portal, and Time challenges for you Portal fanatics that are looking for a real challenge.

According to Daryl, here is how you can install them to your PC:

Simply extract the Ren_Tests.bmz anywhere, then load up Portal, click ‘Bonus Maps,’ click “Import Bonus Maps”, then just navigate to where the Ren_Tests.bmz file is, select it, and click ‘Open.’ Then, the Ren_Test Mappack will be in your Bonus Maps window.

Sounds simple enough. If you check it out, let us know if you think it’s as devious as Ren_Test2.

What we’re listening to: More Cowbell Edition

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This week, instead of talking about the games we’re playing, we sharing what music, podcasts, etc. we’re listening to. Looking through the list, we’ve definitely got an eclectic mix of stuff. In the end though, I think I like Steve Fraden’s answer the best…classic!

So here’s what we’re listening to at our desks, on our iPods, and everywhere in between…

Liz Beetem, Artist: Throbbing Gristle, Foetus, The Legendary Pink Dots, Current 93, Imminent Starvation, Terrorfakt (although someone needs to hold an intervention between him and vocal samples), and fellow snooty-games-are-art-Silent Hill fan Yahtzee and his Zero Punctuation reviews

Ricardo Gonzalez, Not Hip Enough to be Square: Daft Punk – Discovery, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones, Metric – Live It Out

“Coach” Dan Geske, QA: Metallica – … And Justice For All, Chris LeDoux – Horsepower, Les Miserables 10-year reunion show, 97.9 FM “Mickey and Amelia in the Morning”, The Silly Soundtracks to Awkward Super Bowl commercials, the screams and shouts of wrestling spectators and coaches at a match on Saturday.

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Bethblog Bowl I: Giants power past undefeated Patriots

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With the Super Bowl XLII just days away, we decided that playing out this year’s Super Bowl in our theater with Madden 2008 would be a good way to waste some time. For the game’s match up between the Patriots and the Giants, I asked senior producer Craig Lafferty if we’d be willing to take on EA football genius, Todd Howard. He reluctantly accepted, fearing that it would turn out to be a humiliating loss.

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What we’re playing: No Football Weekend

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Like millions of others, many of us here are caught up in the excitement of the NFL Playoffs. Sure the Redskins are long gone, and some of us are sad to see Brett Favre’s run fall short (just look how sad he is), but that won’t stop us from having a good time watching the Patriots put up their 18-0 mark against Eli “The Other” Manning and the rest of the Giants. But, all that excitement has to wait…for another week. So with no football, we’ve got a whole weekend to play games before the Super Bowl parties next week.

Here’s what we’ll be playing…

Dan Geske, QA: Maybe some WoW if I get the time, or College Football 2008 (I can’t believe there’s only one more football game left in the whole season! What do I do now??)

Erin Losi, Marketing: Portal, Call of Duty 4, Chocolate Chip Meltdown

Todd Howard, Executive Producer: Fallout 3!

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Bethesda vs. Mythic: TF2 Roundup

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Last week, we reported that our Team Fortress 2 specialists, Team Bethesda (aka the Vault 101 Dwellers aka [V101]), were putting their undefeated record on the line against EA Mythic. I asked Matthew Ouzounian (aka Matt Headroom) to recap the match and Daryl put together a recap video you can watch here.

Salve discipuli et discipulae! M-M-Matt Headroom, faithful m-m-m-mmmmedic and cheerleader for team Bethesda a.k.a. [V101], here to tell you a little story. You may have marked our match of mettle with Mythic in a Team Fortress 2. It is possible to present the pettifog using a plethora of playful phrases or prose, perchance, I was persuaded to portray it…but that’ll do it for the a-a-alliteration. Did we win? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading to f-f-f-find out.

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Bright Shiny Things: Desktop Tower Defense

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Between all of us here, there’s very little that stirs in the gaming universe that doesn’t pop up on somebody’s radar. Whether it’s the simple genius of Peggle or some random freeware project somebody stumbles across, we go to great lengths to entertain and amuse ourselves. Simple, hopefully free (or at least very close to it), and entirely worth looking into. Freeware, shareware, cool demo,thing you have to try out. Bright, Shiny Things.

I thought perhaps we could start sharing some of these nuggets that folks may or may not be aware of. These are not going to be earth-shattering new things, but I often find that what one person has been playing for two years, someone else just found out about yesterday.

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What we’re playing: Friday Night Fight vs. EA Mythic

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As many have noticed, we definitely have plenty of folks that take Team Fortress 2 very seriously. In matches against developers from other companies, the Vault 101 Dwellers have amassed a record of 3-0 — beating the likes of Breakaway, Retro and Bioware. Tonight, the boys from Bethesda are aiming their sites on another win, this time against EA Mythic (makers of Dark Age of Camelot). Rumor has it a match against Blizzard…err…Activision Blizzard is being negotiated by Don King…keep an eye out for that.

So will the office team move to 4-0, or will this blog post serve as a jinx? Stay tuned!

Here’s what the Vault 101 Dwellers and everyone else are playing this weekend…

Cory Dornbusch, An Unwashed Villager… err QA Tester: The Witcher, and TF2 – Bethsoft vs. Mythic Friday night…place your bets!

Nate Purkeypile, Uber Pyro: TF2 match against Mythic to hopefully maintain our undefeated streak, Mario Galaxy and sending back my busted Rock Band drums and guitar.

Mike Lattanzia, QA: Hellgate: London (testing out new Blademaster builds), Rock Band, Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty 4 (I finally gave in), Savage 2, Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness (getting close to finishing the main story!), Super Mario Galaxy; way too many games right now, I’m almost glad that Smash Bros was delayed.

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Nuclear Winter

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It was bound to happen at some point…today we were hit with our first snowstorm of the year. While nowhere near as bad as what my Michigan blood is accustomed to, the storm was bad enough to cause our internet to be on the fritz today. With some extra downtime, we decided to have a little fun in the snow. We were going to try to make snow angels using this Vault Boy mock up display…but it didn’t turn out well. So instead, we just let Vault Boy hang out while we threw some snow balls at each other.

Alas, the internet is back up, so it’s back to work!