Strawberry Kiwi Pie

My pie-for-games program at work has been a huge success. The long and short of it is, I want to play a new game that’s just come out, so I say that the first person to finish the game and lends it to me gets a pie of their choosing. Cheng won this round with Heavy Rain by lending it to me before he’d even played it, as he wants to play Assassin’s Creed 2 first.

ANYway, he requested my strawberry kiwi pie, which is somewhat of a Lisa Brown concoction, and I thought I’d record it here to share (and so I can look it up easily later. I swear I wrote this down on the internet sometime before, but maybe not.)

I always use the crust from this recipe for my pies. It’s simple and tasty. If you have another crust recipe you prefer, then go ahead and use it.

2 1/2 cups(ish) of strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
2 1/2 cups(ish) of chopped kiwi
(I’m really guestimating these amounts, I tend to grab “what looks right.” So maybe 4 or 5 kiwi fruit and a container of fresh strawberries)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees F

Prepare the crust as per this recipe.

Mix the filling ingredients together.

Line a pie pan with half the crust. Pour filling into the crust. Dot the filling with 1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces. Cover with top crust and slice vents.

Put some foil around the edges of the crust. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 350, remove foil, and bake for 25-30 minutes more, until it’s all bubbly and such.

depict1 and Robot Unicorn Attack

Two games to discuss tonight, go!

First up is depict1, a platformer that’s also kind of a mind trip. It’s full of smiley surprises, and it has a subtle way of playing with our natural instinct to trust and listen to the tutorial man. In a way, it probes something deep down and makes me a little squirmy, but just barely, and not enough to decrease how enjoyable the game is.

The trick is not to get frustrated by its initial premise and the search for controls. Just check the readme file, it’s not that big a spoiler.

Secondly is the ever-popular Robot Unicorn Attack (short ad before the game). Now, I thought that Canabalt was pretty clever, what with its procedurally generated courses and all, but I played it like 2 or 3 times and then shrugged it off. Robot Unicorn Attack, on the other hand, I can’t stop!! The music! The rainbows! The sparkles! I cannot resist their juiciness!

It just goes to show how important the theming and aesthetic wrapper of your game can be. (For those who don’t feel like playing them or don’t have the time, here’s the spoiler: it’s the same game).

Also, I want that song, surely that song has to be in downloadable form someplace by now, right?

Football insight

While watching the Superbowl tonight, I had an insight. I realized that the time I started enjoying football corresponded with when they started using augmented reality to render the first down line.

I used to be all, “I don’t know what’s going on! Wait, why are they switching out? What happened? Was that a good thing? Did something good happen?” And I pretty much gave up on attempting to watch the sport.

Now it’s easy, I just look at the screen and think “Okay, they have to get to there, got it.” Suddenly, football is enjoyable to watch!

It’s amazing how a little piece of technology can make something so much more accessible to a casual audience!

Game Design Toolbox

One of my favorite assignments in Game Design was building the Toolbox. We had to think of games we’d played from every year starting when we were 5 years old, and jot down a useful memory about the game. Useful in terms of something we learned from it game-design-wise. It was a very useful tool, and I’m always adding onto it.

However, I wanted to do two things: 1) Put the toolbox in a format that would be easily categorized, searchable, and easy to add on to, and 2) A format that was easy to share with others.

As such, I’ve started a new blog: Wertle’s Game Design Toolbox

I’ve already copied over the information from the original toolbox, but there is still MUCH to add. For example, as a preliminary exercise, I made a list of every video game I can ever remember having played EVER. Now I have to add each one to the toolbox with a corresponding memory.

I have about 200 entries to add, and that’s just video games. I haven’t even started a list for other types of games!

This is a huge project, but I intend to catch up, so that eventually adding new entries will be gradual. I also intend to make lots of tags, so that I can look up entries by system, by genre, or by insight.

How long do you think it’ll take me to add all my games?


Today’s favorite of the Gamasutra weekly indie game pick is Sheep, a game where you are a sheepdog herding sheep! Well, sort of.

See, in this situation, the sheep chase the dog instead of the other way around.

Regardless, I found it had a few nice little twists on game mechanics that I’m used to. For example, the rams will hurt you if they touch you, so you have to keep away from them. But you are still leading them, so you can’t let any of them die by falling into water or getting caught by the wolf.

I don’t think I’d ever played a game before where you have to preserve and keep safe the thing that is chasing and trying to hurt you. I’d like to explore that idea further!

There are a few quirky things about the game, such as the difficulty ramping being a little sporadic (I found the hardest levels to be sprinkled throughout, rather than each level being more difficult than the last). Regardless, I found the interaction to be fresh and fun, and the music was nice in all of its midi-ness.

It’s very short, so give it a try!


I’ve been keeping my brain filled up on books, but I’ve been slacking in my intentions to give my thoughts on them. My two most recent excursions have been A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, and Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins.

A Confederacy of Dunces was a bit of a rough read, not because it was bad or anything. On the contrary, the dialog brought its characters to life in impressively distinct and colorful ways. It’s just that most of the characters are so dreadful and hate-able that it’s hard to endure their presence for very long. I kept thinking “if these people don’t each get theirs in the end, I’m going to be really upset.”

Fortunately, I was not upset! The ending wrapped things up in the most pleasing way it could, and I was satisfied. However, I don’t think I’d go on that adventure a second time.

Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, on the other hand, I enjoyed very much from start to finish. Tom Robbins has a way of pouring out words in buckets, and my brain had a way of lapping it all up into order. It’s strange, too, because some wordy authors I don’t like at all, I just read too quickly and get tangled up in the words. With Robbins, though, everything synched up, and I ended up being delighted by his wordiness. Not to mention the fact that the story was engaging and the characters all felt real.

It was also fun because Josh, who lent it to me, had written notes in the margins and underlined phrases throughout. I love it when that happens in books, because it makes me feel like I’m spying on the inside of someone’s brain.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a new book to read, I’d highly recommend the Robbins book, but approach A Confederacy of Dunces at your own risk.

A Silent Protagonist Does NOT Guarantee Awesomeness

The theme of today’s entry is “correlation does not imply causation,” except I’m not talking about vaccines. I’m talking about the frequent notion that a silent protagonist in a video game makes for a more immersive experience. A recent Kotaku article got me thinking about this, but I intend to look at the matter in a more specific and less, uh, prickly point of view. Now, I’m going to slim the playing field a bit and talk specifically about silent heroes in first person shooters, in interest of time and clarity of point.

This blog post is Longsville, you have been warned.

A long train of thought…