TFIF, eh? This week has dragged into near infinity and there’s been no shortage of things to do both at my desk and away from it. Again, I’ve been lamenting the fact that the Earth rotates on its axis once approximately every twenty-four hours. 26 hours would be a bit more sensible, like Bajor in the Star Trek Universe where there’s more time for a lie-in.

Somehow I’ve managed to cling on to £40 from the £100 I took out of the cash machine on Monday. This of course does not include the £400 I spent on the Berlin Trip – oh did I not mention that before? Methinks I haven’t (and cross-referencing is a bitch) so now I shall. Andy S & I will be heading for Germany’s fair capital in late April for four days and the best part – it’s costing me £1 more than it did in November for a whole extra day. Oh I grant you I still have to feed and entertain myself but the lesson learned is that see what an extra day’s leave will cost you.

I don’t envisage doing much different compared with last time except there won’t be any Xmas stuff in town so I’ll see the city in its normal state. It’ll be after easter (and you never know, there might be cheap post-easter chocolate available), the clocks will have gone forward and the weather – well it’ll either be great or lousy. April in Höhne was always pretty good as I recall which isn’t all _that_ far away.

I’ve taken advantage of the recent iPad sales and bought a couple of new games. Nothing terribly exciting – Monopoly HD and the Game of Life HD. I also downloaded the Zoo Keeper Versus app to supplement my existing copy of Zoo Keeper. I’ve already used all the initial six power bottles and am too cheap to buy more so slowly earning them back (grinding through practice levels). But I’m around 240,000 in the world ranks which is good.

Let’s review: Zoo Keeper Versus is a version of the Zoo Keeper game which is strictly multiplayer only. The game is played over a slightly smaller version of the grid compared with the regular game and each player has thirty seconds to rack up as many animal trios as possible. Each trio will increase the attack value or defense value of the player’s avatar and the two avatars duke it out wearing each other down. The one whose energy meter drops to zero first loses the match. If the energy meter isn’t run down at the end of the combat round, another battle resumes up to a maximum of five rounds.

There are a few other nasty objects hidden in the grids to take advantage of – the most common being the Zoo Owner who acts as a different animal category (i.e. the bunny) making it harder to find suitable matches. They aren’t really game changers but will allow players an extra boost.

The app is currently free to download and you receive six “Power Bottles” as a new player which allows six free games per bottle. Each six minutes logged in will award a free game though Power Bottles can be purchased in the game shop. There are also other rewards to be obtained by winning games such as backdrops, extra additions to the player screen and pre-set messages to greet/taunt your opponent.

For a free app, it’s really not bad value as it allows you to get away from the Solitaire mode and play random people over the interweb. The rewards also give the achievers something to aim for as well as the glory of despatching opponents. Zoo Keeper is already a horribly addictive game (I wish the DS Quest Mode would make it to the iPad version) and this’ll just extend my habit.

Looking ahead to the weekend – there’s a dinner party to attend on Saturday and that’s about the only thing in the diary much to my…delight. Can get on with chores and do my own thing this weekend which can only be good. I have a full freezer of stuff that needs cooking, cupboards are also pretty well stocked and there’s lots of Xmas chocolate for when I lose my temper at AoE.

Oh – Microsoft: why the ferque have you ceased development on AoE Online? Couldn’t you just release the Roman faction AND THEN cease development? I mean you’ve already wrecked everything that was good about Rare and designed one of the clunkiest, ugliest gamer control pads ever…give us gamers a break. Or is that Ivory Backscratcher just too tempting?

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