Thursday, November 11, 2010, 02:22 PMThe Introduction
It was only a few months ago that all of us at RedKid stumbled upon this addicting game, so we were a little late on the scene. If you are even more behind the times than us, PopCap's Plants Vs. Zombies is a very fun tower defense game in which plants are used to protect your home from an onslaught of Zombies. You start the game playing in an adventure mode that gets increasingly difficult. Along the way, mini-games, puzzles, survival modes, and a zen garden are unlocked. The game is simple enough for a kindergardener to play, but is able to hold the attention of gamers of all ages. If you are interested in finding out more information about the game, or purchase it for yourself, click here.
We at RedKid went far beyond the casual user of PVZ, and have accomplished several achievements that we will highlight below. If you would like to see a larger picture of any of the images in this post, just click on them for a high resolution version.
The Zen Garden
My oldest son gave me some very specific tasks to complete in PVZ, and his desire for the Zen Garden was to have one of every plant from the Plant Almanac. Furthermore, each plant had to be facing the direction they would in the game and in the Plant Almanac. Since the Zen Water Garden had space for more than just the plants facing the correct position, I was allowed to collect a few plants going the wrong way. The last plant earned in the correct direction was the lily pad. It took a few months of playing survival Endless to be awarded that plant. You can see my Mushroom Garden by going here and my water garden by clicking here.
The Tree of Wisdom
The goal here was to grow the tree as tall as the cost of a bag of its fertilizer. Each bag of fertilizer costs $2500, and so the tree had to be 2500 feet tall. The total cost to grow this tree was $6,250,00. Officially, there is no point to growing your tree any taller than 1000 feet, as all wisdom and special codes are revealed at that magic number. This, by the way, was the last task that I completed on Plants Vs. Zombies, and not because I had a hard time raising the money. It was the monotony of feeding this behemoth one bag at a time. That coupled with the fact that each bag of fertilizer has to be bought separately, and only ten bags can be brought to the tree at a time, made for a very arduous task.
For the puzzles, my son wanted me to get to a total of 25 on Vase Breaker Endless, and a total of 20 on I, Zombie Endless. On Vase Breaker Endless, the first ten levels are a cakewalk, the second ten levels are extremely difficult, and every level beyond that is near impossible to pass. There are three Gargantuars on every level past 20. I was barely able to squeak out the win on this one. As far as I, Zombie Endless, I made it to 18. The difficulty with this one is the ever increasing amount of challenging plants and the dwindling amount of suns as each level progresses. If I can get 4000 suns by level 10, I might just have a chance. If I ever accomplish the 20, I will update this entry.
The final challenge I was given by ny son was to get to 1000 flags on Survival Endless, without losing any mowers or pool sweepers. This achievement was the most daunting from the outset, as I had only seen people get as far as 500 flags online. I picked a pattern that was able to achieve the 500 flag mark, and altered it only by adding a Cattail to help in the shooting down of Balloon Zombies. A couple of words of advice if you too would like to complete this feat... Always bring two Pumpkins, bring every single plant that explodes, always bring the Blover when Balloon Zombies will be present, aim your Corn Cob Cannons with accuracy and speed, and don't let your suns dwindle.
The image to the left is of the actual achievements that can be awarded in PVZ. While many were easy, there were a few that were difficult. For example, finding the Yeti Zombie was no simple task. For those of you not in the know, you must play through Adventure Mode two times in order to find him. However, the actual achievements pale in comparison to the list my son gave me. His list required, a bit of skill, a lot of time, and also a lot of patience. If you have none of the aforementioned qualities, I have provided my user data for you to download. Simply click here, unzip the file, place the file in the PVZ user folder, and edit the name to make it yours. It comes with a complete Zen Garden, Survival Endless at 1000 flags with suns at their maximum, and plenty of cash. One last note, if you use your down arrow keys while in the achievement section you will find a very cool Easter Egg. You can see a condensed version of it here.
Sunday, November 18, 2007, 08:17 PM
I was reading an interesting article naming the ten most dangerous cities in America, and our hometown comes in at number four. It's hard to believe that such a beautiful place is so tarnished.
When I first moved to Oakland, I did so because my wife got a job at a company that was located here. I never felt unsafe, but my wife frequently did. We lived in a fairly decent area (Piedmont Ave.), but we saw our share of crime... fights, gangs, prostitutes, and robberies to name a few. Since we lived in an apartment, I had to park my car on the street, and during the four years that we resided in Oakland, my license plate was stolen three times. While that was a minor annoyance, it was one of several such incidents that prompted us to move from Oakland. So, when my wife became pregnant with our first child, we decided that we would like to raise him in a safer community, and we left the city.
Although I love Oakland and the students I'm privileged to work with, I do wish it was a safer place. During my 12 years of working here, I have known nearly a dozen people who have been murdered and countless others who have been assaulted, violated, or taken advantage of. The crime rate in Oakland continues to soar, and there seems to be no ceiling in sight. My hope for next year is that we avoid the top ten list altogether. This city has so much potential...
Sunday, November 4, 2007, 08:24 AM
Yesterday, we took the kids to go see Bee Movie. Our credit union hosts an event each year where for two dollars you get a movie ticket, a bucket of popcorn, a hot dog, and a soda. So basically, the whole family can go see a movie and be fed for the price of one normally-priced movie ticket.
Last year, the movie they presented was Arthur and the Invisibles. It was a good movie for the kids, but didn't offer much in terms of adult humor. So this year I was happy to see that the movie they selected was Bee Movie. I was a huge Seinfeld fan, and this is his project, so I had high hopes. While I did enjoy the movie, it is by no means an instant classic like Shrek or Toy Story. It is a cute story and is filled with all sorts of bee puns, but not a lot of laugh out loud moments. The animation for the movie is very good, the concept for the movie is intriguing, but it just doesn't contain the hilarious moments that are in many of the other feature films aimed at both kids and adults. There are no memorable moments like those that were presented on Seinfeld each week.
Saturday, September 22, 2007, 06:43 PM
I absolutely adore chickens. If you've poked around this site at all, you've probably seen evidence of this. So from time to time, I find myself Googling chicken-related topics. The other day, I discovered perhaps the most amazing chicken ever to live. That's right, Mike the Headless Chicken.
Apparently, the farmer who owned Mike was hungry, and was craving chicken. Long story short, he went to the coop, grabbed Mike, and chopped his head off. Mike, barely phased by the event, went on about his business. In fact he went on about his business for another couple of years... sans head.
Mike was a huge celebrity during his lifetime, and made his owner quite wealthy. Mike's legacy lives on today through annual celebrations in his hometown, playground chants (Mike, Mike, where's your head? Even without it, you're not dead!), and even his own fan club and website. Go here to check it out.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006, 09:03 AM
I was devestated to hear that a former student of mine, his mother, and sister became part of the impossibly high murder rate in Oakland this year. If you would like to read the details of what tranpspired, go here to read the article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
I knew that some murders had taken place on Thanksgiving Day because another former student of mine, Haimanot, called me to wish me a happy holiday and had mentioned it. She mentioned it because it took place at Keller Plaza, which is a large apartment complex that is home to several Ethiopian and Eritrean families. My good friend Metti, lived their for years, but moved last summer, so I wasn't concerned for her welfare, and I forgot about the incident until yesterday.
Haimanot called me to wish me a Merry Christmas, and we talked for a long time, and we somehow got on the topic of the tragic events of Thanksgiving Day. I was horrified to find out what had happened, and who it had happened to.
When I first met Yonas, he was brand new to this country and spoke very little English. He had a hard time at Carter because of this, and was tormented in P.E. and lunch by certain students. Children were brutal. By the end of the year, his English had improved greatly, but students still pestered him. So when he didn't return to Carter the following year, I wasn't terribly surprised. I did see him a couple of times after that year, and he told me things were working out great for him at his new school, both academically and socially. I now understand that he was on the honor roll at Berkeley High, the varsity soccer team, and in several clubs. His passing is a tragic loss, and my prayers go out to him and his family.