Live in North America? Just got paid? Have a Vita? Come have a look…

This week to celebrate the two year anniversary of the launch of the Playstation Vita, Sony is having a fairly large sale.  Considering that I own every single game on it (except for one, which I rented) I figured why not do some quick analysis of the games and the price what’s worth it and what isn’t.

Castlestorm ($4.83 PS+/6.99 –  usually $9.99) –  Castlestorm is a very fun defense game with a few RTS wrinkles and even some side scrolling combat.  Flipping back and forth between firing your ballista at the opposing forts, sending out troops, and taking control of your hero can be hectic but very satisfying.  I personally would recommend getting the complete edition for $6.99 as the two DLC packs are pretty lengthy and mix up the formula further.  The game is crossbuy with the ps3 version.

Escape Plan ($7.34 PS+/10.49 – usually $15) – When it was just a Vita game the price was actually lower during certain sales but now that the game is Cross-buy with the PS4 version the sale price isn’t as impressive.  Furthermore I found the game to be an inferior experience on the PS4 despite the increased screen size and fidelity.  All in all it’s a clunky puzzler with amazing art and a good amount of charm.  The latter can carry the game… but, still, this sale price isn’t mindblowing.

Flow ($2.79 PS+/$3.99 – usually $5.99) – I find it hard to believe that anyone doesn’t own flow at this point.  The game is crossbuy for the PS3/PS4/Vita.  The controls are motion based which in my opinion makes the Vita version the worst platform for it because you moving the screen around which is far from ideal.  But at $2.79, it’s worth a look, definitely if you own a ps3 or ps4 to get the superior experience.  This is the first game ThatGameCompany released on a Sony console so it’s interesting to see the voyage from here to Flower to Journey.

Flower ($3.49 PS+/$4.99 – usually $5.99) – You can basically cut and paste what I said about Flow to here.  The game suffers because it’s tilt controls so on the vita that means you are tilting the screen as well.  The game is wonderful though and is crossbuy with the ps3/ps4 as well, so if you haven’t played it yet it’s easy to recommend.

Hotline Miami ($2.50 PS+/$4.99 – usually $9.99) – Everyone should own this game, except for my podcast co-host Rich Grisham. The music is amazing. The gameplay is kinetic and violent.  The story is confusing and intriguing in a very David Lynch type of way.  Unless you abhor violence this is a no brainer if you don’t already own it.  $2.50?  What is this, Steam? Also, it is a crossbuy with the PS3 version.  The Vita version is better though in my opinion as it just fits the platform and being able to use the touch screen to aim (if you want) is a welcome addition.

Killzone Mercenary  ($17.49 PS+/$24.99 – usually $35.99) – Killzone Mercenary not only has the best single player campaign in the series… it’s also the best Killzone game to come out last year.  The online is serviceable though a bit underwhelming.  Personally, however, I don’t really look to handheld games for online play unless it’s asynchronous.  The visuals in the game will make you wonder what kind of sorcery is happening at Guerrilla Caimbridge because a system that is noticeably less powerful than the PS3 shouldn’t be putting out a game that looks this good that holds a fairly steady framerate to boot.  Highly recommended unless you just hate first person shooters.

Machinarium ($1.75 PS+/$3.49 – usually $6.99) – Machinarium is a beautifully drawn puzzle adventure (think point and click-ish).  The puzzles are over my head and I derive no enjoyment out of the game, but I know many people who loved it.  If this is the type of game you can get into I don’t know how you can ignore the $1.75 price.  Hell, even as much as I suck at it I would buy it for $1.75 just to see some of the gorgeous art.

Malicious Rebirth ($7.34 PS+/$10.49 – usually $14.99) – As a somewhat recent release I believe this is the first time the game has gone on sale so it only being 50% off is reasonable. The question is whether the game is worth your $7.34? The answer is maybe.  If you like over the top japanese action games and can deal with some slowdown from time to time you’ll find a fun arena-based boss-fight-athon.  The movement and action is fluid.  If you want to do things like explore, or have a story that makes any sense, look elsewhere.  This game is about getting in and fighting 1000 grunts and different bosses.

Open Me! ($4.89 PS+/$6.99 – usually $9.99) – Like most AR games Open Me! makes a solid first impression but after the wonder of seeing a game play out on your carpet wears off what you’re left with is a pretty mediocre puzzler.  Not worth it IMO, though I do think there is a demo if AR games interest you more than they do me.

Orgarhythm ($4.89 PS+/$6.99 – usually $9.99) – I bought this game at launch last year for $19.99 and haven’t regretted it.  The game is definitely an extremely niche title. The basics are that you are a giant god walking around and you need to tap to the beat of the song.  Along the way you pick up followers of different colors/classes and you need to send them out to defeat enemies, all while staying in rhythm with the music.  So, yeah, it’s basically a rhythm-strategy game.  Probably the only one that will ever exist.  If the concept sounds interesting to you give it a go.  I’m glad I did.

Proteus ($4.19 PS+/$6.99 – usually $13.99) –  Another extremely niche title.  The type of game that people argue whether it’s a game or not.  I find the exploring to be relaxing but I’m not even going to attempt to sell anyone on this game.  The price is right if the concept interests you.

Ragnarok Odyssey  ($14.69 PS+/$20.90 – usually $29.99) – One of a million Monster Hunter clones. The combat in it is among my favorite in the genre.  The loot and crafting and missions are fun as well.  It’s a slightly high price considering the pseudo-sequel is coming soon (which should drop the normal price of this down, making future sale prices even lower).  If you get sucked into the game it will be the best $15 you’ve ever spent as you can drop hundreds of hours into it.  If Monster Hunter type games don’t do it for you this game likely won’t change that.

Stick it to the Man ($6.29 PS+/8.99 – usually $12.99) – A very charming and sometime funny puzzle platformer.  The game came out recently and as such the sale price isn’t mindblowing.  The game is worth every penny, however, if you have even a remote interest in the genre.  I suck at the puzzle part of puzzle platformers but the graphical style keeps me coming back (though, I do feel the need to say I don’t like the character designs… the world itself makes up for them).  If you’ve been eying this, now is the time.  If not I’m sure the price will dip lower at a later sale.

Sumioni: Demon Arts ($4.89 PS+/$6.99 – usually $9.99) – I bought this game at $19.99 which was a ripoff.  The game is very much a one trick pony.  Each stage consists of you moving left to right, killing a few guys, drawing platforms with your fingers (think: Max and the Magic marker) and then at the end you fight a building.  Getting to each building is actually more fun than these “boss” battles.  Unfortunately the trips are short and the fights with the buildings are a slog.  I did have fun with the game and $5 seems reasonable… but even if you enjoy it and get your money’s worth out of it I think you will agree that the game could have been so much more if they gave the concept a bit more time to simmer.

Valhalla Knights 3 ($14.69 PS+/$20.99 – usually $29.99) – One of the bigger releases of the fall in the B-tier (aka not Killzone or Tearaway) VK3 is an interesting game and well worth your time if you can put up with the repetition.  The game is basically setup like an MMO that you play single player.  You have your main town, you go out and do quests, you level up, you get better stats, you get loot drops, etc.  You know the drill.  It’s pretty much by the numbers except for this weird and somewhat uncomfortable mechanic in town where certain shopkeepers are also hookers (I think?) and the more attention you give them the better prices you get.  Luckily this entire section of the game can be avoided as there are normal merchants on the lower floor that don’t want to have sex with you.  VK3 doesn’t reinvent the wheel but sometimes it’s fun to turn on your vita, bang out a few quests, get a new sword, and then turn off your vita.  If that’s an itch you want to scratch, this game will do it for you.

Velocity Ultra ($2.09 PS+/$3.49 – usually $7.49) – One of the best exclusive indies on the platform.  It’s a horizontal shootem-up with a twist.  You can warp to different parts of the screen, and there are many humans to save.  So while you are fighting off enemy hordes figuring out where everyone is to save while constantly moving forward becomes frantic mayhem.  I love it.  For $2 you should have to sell your vita if you skip this game.

Also of note, Ubisoft is having a sale this week.  So here’s my take on their Vita offerings…

Rayman Origins ($6.49) – If you even slightly like 2d platformers and you don’t own this yet, you need to.  The art is amazing, the controls are tight, there’s a ton of content.  This is an absolute steal for those who somehow haven’t played it yet.  It’s even worth the double dip for those who did play it on another platform.

Asphalt: Injection ($6.49) – When the Vita launched this port of an iOS game priced at $40 was an insult. The driving model is decent and there is a lengthy career. The game is actually pretty decent.  It was just the price that was offensive.  $6.50 isn’t offensive.  Download the demo just to see if you like the driving model (it’s a bit like a simple Burnout).

Dungeon Hunter Alliance ($6.49) – Just like Asphalt, this was another launch port of an iOS game that they charged $40 for.  At $6.50, though, you are left with a by the numbers but fun action rpg.  I actually put more time into this game than I did Diablo 3.

Lumines Electronic Symphony  ($6.49) – Also overpriced at launch, this seminal music puzzler is an easy buy at this price.  I just wish the ramp up to when the game gets hectic didn’t take 30+ minutes each time.

If you have a Vita there are some can’t miss deals in there.

Also, if you have any money left over, why not check out the Dodd Scientifics indiegogo?

Advertisements

Vita TV – Many Solutions to Many People

vitatv

When Andrew House came on stage at the end of a long and quite impressive Playstation conference in Japan he delivered the biggest surprise of the night.  Not only does he speak Japanese with his, um, unique voice, but he brought with him the PS Vita TV.  This tiny little box has many functions and while the details have yet to be completely sorted it came storming out of the gate as a versatile little piece of tech at the magic $100 price point.  And with that Sony closed the conference having answered many of the biggest questions the entire Playstation brand has faced… namely, where are the big PS4 games for early next year and are they willing to try to make the Vita a success.  There were no doubts about either by the time that House walked off the stage.  Sony looks like a smart, hungry corporation ready to take over the world.  I’ll leave the arguments of whether they will or not to the internet prognosticators, but it sure is nice to see them on solid ground with smart people.  Just seven years ago it was the Microsoft people who seemed down to earth and lovers of gaming and the Sony folks who seemed out of touch with reality.  Boy how times have changed…

The obvious question about the Vita TV is who is it for. I think it has many fairly particular uses but it remains unclear whether it will be a device that strikes a cord with the mainstream or if it fills in several niches.  But let’s get the niches out of the way because as a tech lover it’s those functions that excite me the most.   The basic concept of the box is the same as an Apple/Google TV or Roku.  It’s a little box you put near your tv and it allows you to use Netflix or Amazon or whatever streaming services are available to you.  It also links you with that company’s store so you can buy or rent TV shows/Movies/Etc.  For many people who don’t have consoles this is the cheapest and best way to get Netflix on your TV.

The Vita TV also treads into the Ouya market.  The Ouya is a $100 box that allows you to play Android games on a TV.  Except, in the case of Vita TV it plays PS Vita, PSP, and PSone games.  There is absolutely no comparison to the quality of games available to the Vita TV compared to Ouya.   The Vita has a much stronger lineup than most give it credit for, but beyond that the PSP has one of the best libraries of all time for fans of Japanese games in particular and there are more amazing PSone classics than you can shake a stick at.  So now we have the access to Sony’s movie and music services, like Apple and Google provide, access to games like the Ouya (but of much higher quality) and all of the above will stream Netflix/etc.  And all are priced at $100.  So right now the PS Vita TV wins in terms of features/price but we haven’t even gotten to where things get interesting.

The PS Vita TV will also act as remote play device for your PS4.  So you can have your PS4 hooked up in your living room and be playing a game and decide you’re getting tired but want to play a bit more in bed.  You head upstairs and turn on your TV in your room with the PS Vita TV hooked up and stream the PS4 game to that tv and continue playing.  I know many people who buy two of the same console, one for the living room and one for the bedroom; Sony just saved those people $300.  Even if they never use it for Netflix, buying movies, Vita games, or anything; it’s still a tremendous value for this one feature alone.

At $100 this also makes a very good console for kids, especially with amount of kid friendly games available in the PSP library.  Handheld games are going to look pretty crappy blown up on a big screen but this may actually be desired somewhat by parents.  The violence is less graphic.  Much like 2DS this device is extremely kid friendly and at a price where parents won’t wince.

In 2014 when Gaikai is rolled out it’s also coming to the Vita (and hence Vita TV) which will give access to even bigger library including PS2, PS3, and PS4 games.  I personally have taken a wait and see approach with Gaikai – if it works, awesome, if it doesn’t… well, that kinda what I expected.  Gaikai on the PC worked quite well but until we see it running on consoles and on the Vita we don’t know if this is a killer app or something that just isn’t ready for the prime time.  It is worth keeping an eye on as another asset for this machine.

There are other things that will matter to even less people but are cool nonetheless.  The Vita TV will allow me to stream Vita games on Twitch TV (I have a capture card in my PC – this feature won’t be available to those who don’t).  Also the many fans of the Vita are obviously happy about anything that puts more units out there in the world because it helps cement the future of the platform.  The sales uptick in Japan for the last six months had pretty much guaranteed that rumors of the system’s death were greatly exaggerated (exaggerated on the internet!??!  WHAT!??!), but this helps put that notion to rest.  Sony isn’t giving up on the platform, in fact they are doubling down.  It’s a show of confidence that up until this point Sony has shied away from displaying.  They believe in the Vita platform and are working to expand it.  For fans of the device this is great news.

Questions still remain about just what is capable with the device and when things will be happening. I’m not expecting it to come stateside (or to EU) until Spring 2014.  I think Japan is getting it this fall because it’s not getting the PS4 until late February.  Sony doesn’t want to compete with itself.  I believe they will wait until the end of the fiscal year (March) before releasing it.  As of launch in Japan it will not support the Dual Shock 4 which is not all that surprising considering that the Dual Shock 4 won’t be out in Japan for another few months.  I have heard that support for it will be patched in but who knows how long that will take.  There is also a question of what will happen to Vita games that require the touch screen…  as of now the word is that they won’t work.  Will this change when the Dual Shock 4 support is added since it has a touchpad?  I could also see an inelegant but feasible workaround of using L2 to put you in cursor mode which acts as a touching the screen would.  This obviously wouldn’t work well for games that require very fast touch screen support like Fruit Ninja, but it would be fine to do the stupid touch stuff in Uncharted like clearing brush.  Or will these games be updated to remove these touch sections?  Also can the Vita itself be used as a controller? That would solve the touch screen issues for those of us who plan on getting the device and already own a Vita.

It’s good news for most Vita owners, at least, that going forward we will have less forced touch controls in games.  There are obviously many games where touch controls are needed and welcomed but any Vita lover could rattle off a list of games that have it tacked on for no good reason.  Those days are officially over.  Thank you Vita TV!

It also has been announced that the system does not output at 1080p.  I’m not sure why this is and Sony hasn’t explained it, to my knowledge.  Can it be patched in later or is the power just not there to do it?  I’m guessing it was a concession made to get the price to $100.  That brings me to my final point…  if you are reading this thinking “Well, I watch Netflix on my consoles, I play Vita and PSP games on my Vita, I don’t ever need to move off my main TV and even if I did I only want the highest quality picture available and the Vita TV not supporting 1080p is a big negative to me.  So why on earth should I buy this?”  The answer for these people is that they shouldn’t.  This device won’t be ubiquitous.  It has many features that many people will find appealing and it comes in at the same price as other devices that do less which makes it very attractive.  It is designed to be an inexpensive device though.  It’s not a top of the line media center/game system.  If you want that buy a PS4 (or multiple PS4s for multiple TVs) and a Vita.  The Vita TV is an inexpensive device that fills many niches.  Will it catch fire and sell tens of millions of units or will it just appeal to enthusiasts?  I don’t know.  All I know is that I fit into about four of those niches and I will be buying it on day one.  I have a feeling I’m not alone.

Review: Smart As

I had a review for Smart As about 95% complete on Sunday afternoon as Hurricane Sandy took a hard left towards New Jersey leaving us on the shoreline in Connecticut on the windy side of the storm.  I had to add a few pictures, correct a few grammatical errors and then figure out how to have the website post it at exactly 3AM on Tuesday morning when the embargo was lifted and we were sure to have long since lost power.  It was a great plan except for one small problem…  I enacted it about 15 minutes too late and lost power as I was finishing this final bit.

The reason I’m telling you isn’t only for sympathy (FIVE DAYS WITHOUT POWER AND INTERNET!) but because it helped me enjoy Smart As in a completely different light and while it didn’t change what my final score was I feel like I can better illustrate what the game does well and where it comes up short.  So much like many of the trees in my town, the old review is destroyed and I’m going to start over with the knowledge of a post-hurricane boredom survivor.

This is one of the many games contained within. The idea is to connect the same color pegs without crossing the streams. This is one of the more simple games in the package but it’s also one of the most satisfying to my super intelligent brain.

Smart As is the newest, shiniest and bestiest (is that a word? Cleese?) ‘brain training’ game in a portable world that has quite a few of them.  I’ve cut my teeth on Brain Age.  I’ve mashed wits with Brain Challenge.  I’ve spent $.99 at least 5 times (quick! quick!  $4.95 in total!!!) on various iOS variations.  So when Smart As was announced I knew I wanted it and I wanted to know why it was $30.

Not only are the statistics absurdly in-depth but they also look as snazzy as the rest of the game. The presentation here is top-notch. For better or worse that’s where the higher price tag comes from.

The answer is pretty clear within minutes of starting it up.  You are greeted with a logo for the Unreal Engine, something even my wife commented on as being ‘weird’, and then once you start the game proper John Cleese is narrating to you while you play rather clever (and abundant) brain training games that have never, ever looked so good.  The games use all of the Vita’s features from touch (including writing numbers or letters with your fingers) back touch (to really melt your brain during one particularly daunting Observation game) and even tilt and the camera for A.R.

You’re damn right I am!

The more gimmicky games tend not to come up in the daily training exercise which is the meat and potatoes of the Smart As experience.  Each day you do 4 exercises, one from each section of the exquisitely modeled brain (all hail the Unreal engine’s finest creation!) and you get a score which is a percentage out of 100.  The game’s rather robust save file and online ranking system means that your score doesn’t just simply exist in a vacuum.  It goes online for everyone to see, including people who want to break down the rankings by country, by age group or even by if you prefer dance music or rock music.  There are friend rankings of course which is both a blessing and a curse.  See, to me, the magic of brain training games is that make you feel smart and they tell you it over and over.  Smart As is brilliant at this.  It asks you a series of questions and by splitting the player base off into so many different subgroups there *HAS* to be one that you are at least in the top half of.  So a loading screen may say “You are smarter than most people who prefer sneakers to dress shoes” and in your mind you pump your fist and go “that’s right bitches, I’m a goddamn genius!”

I had a problem early on where every once in a while the game wouldn’t know what I was writing in these games with the chalkboard. I don’t know if the game adapted to me or I adapted to it (probably the latter – i think large, exaggerated letters and numbers work better) but it’s been almost two weeks since the game misunderstood what I wrote. Pretty impressive.

The problem with your friends list leaderboard is it may just so happen that you are the dumbest friend and that’s no fun.  So far that isn’t the case for me but I know my friends and I know I’m screwed so I’m going to need the reinforcement from the game that I’m smarter than people who take a bath while holding a toaster.  One aspect of the game that I didn’t even take into consideration until I was stuck in my house with no power for days was local multiplayer.  While the game doesn’t specifically have a mode for local MP (which is an odd exclusion but easily rectified just by playing a game and remembering your score and passing it) it is great fun to play with, say, your wife.  She and I were laughing hysterically whenever either of us had a brain fart on some seemingly easy logic puzzle.  We gloated when we won, we frowned when we lost.  It really was great.  And while I won most of the time because my wife is dumb (her words) and I’m a goddamn genius (my words) we still had a great time.

And of course my wife isn’t dumb, the game really is just about memorizing how each game is played and then executing it quic……. bah  baahhhh   nooo!  SHUT UP PETE!  No, I won because I’m smart.  The game told me I’m smart because I’m smart!  Don’t look any deeper into this!

This is the home screen that will greet you everyday. The game looks great, it loads quickly, and it tells you over and over that you are smart. What’s not to love?

So what we end up here is a top of the line brain training game with extremely slick and polished presentation, narration from John Cleese that is both funny and pretty mesmerizing in how it will recall things you did days earlier and the most robust online interface a game like this could ever dream of having.  Much like the Vita itself, this is a high-end product for a very specific consumer…  and while some may scoff at the $30 price tag — those of us that love these types of games will know that we actually made out in this deal.  I can see myself playing at least the daily exercise every single day for the next year or two (or three or four).  Tell me you’re going to do that with your $60 copy of Darksiders 2.

Sound Shapes level design contest – Week 1 results – Week 2 submissions

So our first week of our prizeless Sound Shapes level design contest has come to a close and it’s been rather interesting. In a lot of ways what we are seeing playing random levels in-game is very similar to the early days of LittleBigPlanet with a bunch of garbage, “tests” and people who just don’t understand basic gameplay elements.  That is one reason I wanted to start this contest, to give people who have an inkling of what they are doing a forum to show it off to the world.  And by “the world” I mean “the couple hundred people who stop by here everyday.”

So what did we find?  Good stuff, actually.  Everything submitted was at the very least playable – which puts it about 10 bars higher than the rest of the Sound Shapes community currently. Also, Camus and I didn’t have a chance to talk all weekend long but when we caught up we had the same two levels picked – so it’s safe to say the choices were unanimous.  What wasn’t was what category they should go in.  Both are strong in music and gameplay and could be flipped if you wanted.

But before we get to the winners lets discuss what set them apart.  The biggest problem that we ran across in the majority of these levels was an EXTREME lack of checkpoints.  There is nothing more deflating than making it across a few tricky sections and then dying over something stupid only to learn you are back 5 screens and have to do it all over again.  Likewise a good number of the levels had sections that just sucked the life out of the experience.  There were levels that with some polish could be absolute classics, but I would get to certain spots and die 20 times in a row.  I replayed these levels several times thinking maybe I was coming at these sections the wrong way – and who knows, maybe I was – but I never figured them out.  It just took a bit of dumb luck to get through and that was that.

So lets just drop the pretense of one of these levels being better at music and one being better at level design and just call them co winners.  That’s easier, right?   The winners are:

Man-is-Obsolete with The Fall and Rise

 

Madriiax with Fever Dream

The Fall and Rise is a Super Bros. heavy level that is a rather mellow voyage.  It’s not afraid to use sparse rooms or rely on atmosphere to usher you through the 4 to 8 minute voyage.  But as soon as you start to feel comfortable Man-is-Obsolete is not afraid to create insane contraptions that want to murder you over and over.  I don’t mind dying a lot if I feel like there is a fair way to beat the challenge and The Fall and Rise does this without feeling cheap.  Overall this is a wonderful journey and you can tell that Man-is-Obsolete put a lot of time and effort into this.

Fever Dream is a more abstract level as the name would indicate.  The name setting the tone is important as a lesser level may not be able to get away with having such strange zones right next to each other but for whatever reason it works here.  There are a few parts to test your skills but there is never a checkpoint too far behind.  And both Man-is-Obsolete and Madriiax may have noticed that I had the slowest time on their leaderboards and the reason for that is I would just sit in certain sections and listen to the music. Madriiax in particular had some crazy beats while Man had some chilling atmospherics.  Both were brilliant.

So that’s it for this week one.  Congrats, fellas.  Everyone else post your levels down below for week two, Camus and I will be judging you.

 

Sound Shapes level creation contest for 8/15

Idea:  Comment below (you don’t even have to sign up, just put a name in the field) with a link to your Sound Shapes level and what name you want credited (your psn?  your real name?).   Camus and/or I will play them all and we will pick two winners.  Best music and best platforming.  On Wednesday, 8/15 we will post the winners – helping shine a spotlight on some.

Why Wednesday:  Because traffic for the site goes down on the weekend and we want the winners each week to get the most exposure possible.

So this is on-going:  Yes, totally.  I can’t say for how long, but for the forseeable future, yes.  And it will always be announced Wednesday night, unless madness strikes our personal lives.

What do you get:  Me?  Well, traffic I guess.  And an audience engaged with the site.  But really, this comes from personally having put an insane amount of time into building things in LBP, Modnation or even PC editors back in the day – so I know the frustration that comes from having something good that just isn’t getting exposure.  I also get to subtlety drop my own levels on the site with less guilt.

What do I get:  No prize, unfortunately, as we don’t even make money from this site (in fact it costs money, but boohoo another day).  What you will get is people playing your level, hopefully.  In July we had 10,000 visitors to the site, so the traffic will be there.  Lets see if people care enough to check out the winners.  There is the possibility that if this takes off we may do a PSN card prize for the overall winner for a set period of time.  But for now let’s just start with exposure…

What if this site sucks and the levels get no exposure:  Well, we tried.  Right?

What if it’s a huge success:  Everyone wins, and we will do the same for LBP-V.

 

Post below.  I understand the servers are down currently but I’m gonna go on the assumption that they will be fixed this weekend.  Crazy, I know…