Arcade Madness

May 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm (Games)

With company for the past month, my gaming time has been severely compromised.  So with that in mind, the arcade games are what I’ve been messing around with in the hopes that I can still make progress instead of playing the same 10 minutes of a game every day.

While on vacation I was introduced to Apples to Apples.  Lo and behold, the Live Marketplace had said game ready for download in exchange for a few Microsoft Points.  It’s an interesting game and may be the first game to get me out on Live to actually play with other people.

RISK:  Factions was also out there in the marketplace for some time and I’ve been meaning to pick it up and finally caved in.  Unfortunately it’s a little much for the short time I have to play so I have yet to unlock any achievements.  What I have played so far seems entertaining.  I’ll revisit that once I have more time to invest.

A third game I just picked up a couple of days ago is Minecraft.  I’ve never played this game before but being an ultimate sandbox game I had to give it a try.  I believe I may be addicted to it now.  The tutorial world is interesting as it gives you a taste of what you need to do and once you accomplish that you can check out what things *could* look like.  I spent some time wandering around what was built there and then decided to attempt creating my own world.  I died rather quickly on the easy difficulty.  But then I found a small island to put my shelter on and actually survived for a couple of ingame days.  Now I can leisurely discover the resources I need like coal (I really need some light) and hopefully I can get some wheat grown because my health is at the minimum.

What I’m really, REALLY waiting for though comes out tomorrow on Friday.  Dragon’s Lair!  I can’t tell you how many of my hard earned quarters were spent playing this game and now I can play it again – not only with a controller… but with the Kinect!  Maybe now I’ll be able to make it through to the end  :p

All that takes care of my points, so now I’ll have to think about getting more for future arcade games that I may want to get.


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Planning a Trip

March 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm (Games, Travel)

By the end of the month, the wife and I (along with our three dogs) will be hitting the road for a 2,000 mile trip to the midwest state of Illinois.  “Why?”, you may ask.  Well, it has been a couple of years since we’ve visited my wife’s family and we were unable to get down there for Christmas due to the wonderful world of Vacation Wars at work.  Of course, it does make it difficult when we’ve been running a skeleton crew for quite some time now.  Anyway, I’m not looking forward to the drive.

The funny thing is that due to, this month has been dubbed racing month so I’ve pulled out a couple of racing games I’ve had collecting dust on the shelve and have finally started playing such as DiRT.  So, even though I hate driving in the real world, I do like to drive in a racing game.  Weird, huh?

But wait!  It gets even weirder.  Over the weekend I finally caved in and purchased a new car, trading in my car of 15 years in the process.  I guess that means I’m back to having car payments.  Hmm?  Oh!  you want to know what kind of car I am now driving.  It’s a red one.  Okay, okay… the 2012 Dodge Avenger is what I’ve got in the driveway now.

It’s got a pretty smooth ride, and now I have to break it in with a trip to Illinois.  >sigh<  I’m still not looking forward to the drive though.


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Dealing With the Fallout

February 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm (Entertainment, Games)

It may have taken me 70 some odd days, but I have finally completed the first playthrough of Fallout:  New Vegas.  I really enjoy this game and only disliked one of the add-ons (Dead Money).  Anyway, it’s really strange to see that even though I thought I did good, a lot of things didn’t fair so well upon the telling of what happened after the battle at Hoover Dam.  But hey,  whatcha gonna do?  For me, I’m getting ready to run through on Hardcore mode and see if I’m still able to survive the ordeal.  After that, I will have even more to do since there are several endings in which one can choose.  I guess that’s part of the charm of Fallout, you can always create your character different…  but it only works if you can play that character like you built him/her.

Other games I’ve been playing is Quarrel, because I enjoy word games… though I tend to play horribly when I don’t have a lot of sleep (I blame the 14 hour work night and not being able to catch up on my sleep!).  I have also played the kinect game Haunt which I finished fairly quickly.  To tell the truth though, Fallout is the main game I’ve been playing.

The question now is, continue playing Fallout or start something new while kinda working on Fallout on the side?  I guess there’s always the bean dive… but the fallout from that would mean destroying my completion percent and learning different controller layouts and remembering which one goes to which game.  I’ll worry about it in the morning, because right now… I’m tired and need some sleep.

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Returning to Fitness

November 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm (Games, Health and wellness)

An interesting thing happened just the other day when I was looking around to games section to see what was sitting on the shelves.  Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 was sitting there.  Since I enjoyed the first one I thought I would grab this one and get back on the track to fitness.

There are a few differences and from I can tell, they’re all good!  The most interesting is the addition to some floor exercises that make this a more complete workout.  More classes were added as were some warm-ups to help cool down a little or to loosen up before tackling a workout.

The first day I got it I was checking it out to see what all was in the “game” when I heard the little chime that meant my console was shutting down.  What?…  I look down and see my dog has wandered over and touched the button with her nose!  So I turn it back on and start doing some stuff like running through New York and missed the challenge.  Oh well, I see what the exercises have to offer and see you can focus on different groups now.  I try the arms and find it interesting.  I then go and see what the classes are all about and check one of those out.  I’m still miffed I missed the challenge on the run and go back to that and do it again.  This time I get the challenge and shortly afterwards hear that chime again as my dog decided to check it out again.  I mean… really?  9 months at the house and she’s never messed with the console ever and now she’s curious about it.  I think I may have yelled a little bit.  Now I’m mad and not thinking straight so I turn the console back on and wait a little while to catch my breath.  I’m determined to complete this run one way or another.  Someone should have been there to tell me that I should go for it again the next day because after I made it through that run, I felt horrible.  I had to go lay down for a few minutes just so the nausea would go away.   After that I stuck to my goal and the dog hasn’t messed with the button anymore.  At least, for the week I’ve been playing.

There is still a lot that I haven’t done yet, but since some of those achievements have a burn 100,000+ calories, I should be doing this for some time.  Who knows, by then it should be a habit.  :)

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Taking it Easy

October 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm (Games, Health and wellness)

Instead of keeping things on track at work, I have started my first day of a 5 day weekend.  That’s right, Out of my 90 hours of use it or lose it time, 16 hours are being used. . .  “But, wait a minute,”  I hear you ask, “Wouldn’t three days equal 24 hours?”  Yes, you are correct.  Monday is not being taken on annual leave – instead one of those pesky furlough days are being used.  So what, pray tell, did I do today and subsequently have planned for this extended weekend?

Today found me doing my best to take it easy and even though the dogs prevent me from sleeping in I did very little except for zone out a bit watching mindless television.  Mostly Sports Center just to see if anything interesting was going on.  Very little football news going on other than the stuff they’ve been rehashing for the last couple of days, but hey, at least you don’t have to think much about it.  After a couple of hours of this I did plug in the ol’ Xbox and decided to see what I could do with a couple of games.

Mercury Hg has turned out to be a fun little game that I can easily lose some time on.  Taking a virtual drop of mercury on a trip though some puzzles that include color changes, splitting apart and subsequently putting back together does use a little thinking power at times.  After completing the first group of elements (gotta love the periodic chart being the selection process of which puzzle to work out) I have two more groups opened up and even got a challenge unlocked (which took me a couple tries to complete).  Bonus levels are also interesting since you have to collect the mercury as you go along, but only three of those have been unlocked so far.  But not to worry, I work at the game a little every day.

The Maw has been a pleasant distraction as well.  I think I’m almost done with this game however.  Two more levels to go (would have been one but I got caught in a glitch on a level that left me stuck with the camera looking off in some weird corner of the world.  I’ll have another go at it tomorrow more than likely.

Jericho has been sitting in the drive for a few weeks now and I gave the disc a spin to get me through the crusades and into Rome.  Most of the achievements left in this game is to get through levels on hard difficulty and some with the added difficulty of not being incapacitated.  I really like the ghost bullet, but I think in Rome I need to use a different character because those shield guys just don’t give you the shots.

Meanwhile, the rest of the weekend is hopefully a lot like today.  Well, I might just go and see if there’s anything interesting in the stores as far as games are concerned. . .

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Hand Me Some Dice!

August 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm (Games)

I think one of the things I miss the most  is taking an old board game out and setting it up to play.  That and card games.  I’m pretty much saying this now because I’ve been playing some of these games on the 360.

Hasbro Monopoly Streets brings all the fun things and leaves out the clutter of the paper money and losing the little pieces.  Sure, it also brings that time it takes to complete just one game.  Luckily there are a few options you can tweak to shorten the game a little bit as well.  Biggest drawback is that each token is associated with a character… so it’s hard to pick a token that feels right, because you are more concerned about picking the character more than the token.

Hasbro Family Game Night was a strange one.  It’s like Game Room in the respect that you get the base game for free, but then you have to spend 800 points for each game.  Yahtzee and Scrabble were it’s selling point for me and Boggle is a fun word game (played with dice at that!).  Not so sure about connect 4 (two versions?!), but I tried out Jenga, Pictureureka and Sorry.  Jenga just doesn’t play well as a console game.

The last one I played was Trivial Pursuit where I keep getting reminded just how little I know about a lot of things.  And then suprise myself by knowing some of the weirdest things…  All in all I think I answer on average 38% of the questions correctly.  Yeah, that means a lot of missed questions  :p

Aside from the dice and board games, I finally checked out a Lego game… Indiana Jones:  The Original Adventures to be exact.  I had a lot of fun with this game, especially when I started finding the parcels and the mailbox.  One of the few games I’ve completed 100%.  I might have to look at some of the other Lego adventures now. . .

Anyway, I still think there’s no replacing the actual rolling of the dice in games. It’s more fun to control the way the dice are thrown and for the most part I’ve always had a particular touch with real dice.  It’s strange to think I have a whole bag of dice somewhere. . .  I just can’t remember where they are.  :s

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Fake Musical Instruments and Books

July 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm (Books, Entertainment, Games)

For some reason I’ve gotten hooked on playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band games this month.  I’m STILL playing after all this time.  More specifically I have played three games, moving from one to another once I wanted a change.

Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock was the first title I focused on as I concentrated on the “storyline” until I made it all the way through twice (dominating the game!).  An interesting approach at having each “warrior” using a different power and then using all 8 powers on the second playthrough.

Rock Revolution was the second title and I still don’t think too highly on this title.  Once I calibrated though, I was able to do a little bit better and made it through to get a “platinum” rating on each stage.  I really don’t know if expert difficulty is going to see the light of day on this game.

Rock Band 3 is the one I just started and it’s just kinda weird.  I don’t think there is a career path anymore, but there are Road Challenges that seem to unlock as you get further along.  I really need to get a keyboard for this game since I like the piano and even though I haven’t played in many many years, I think I’ll feel more comfortable playing that than the guitar, drums or vocals.  Who knows, sometime in the future I may even get the guitar and see if I can’t learn a little something on how to actually play. . . but this old dog may not be able to learn  :p

Another arena I have stepped back into is reading.  Yeah, books have caught my attention again especially with a new author I’ve decided to give a try.  Kate Griffin has a couple of books called “Madness of Angels” and “Midnight Mayor”.  These books reminded me of how much some writers can capture my imagination and keep me reading even when I need to be doing other things.  Now to wait fore “Neon Court” to come out in paperback.

Now I should go back to my gaming and reading. . . or maybe I should watch the new episode of Deadliest Warrior to see how Joan of Arc and William the Conqueror turned out…

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When Company Arrives

July 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm (Games)

For the most part I’m a private player.  I like to play games, but mostly I like to play single campaign and co-op when my wife decides it’s a game she likes to play.  I lose any confidence when I have someone looking over my shoulder so when company comes over for a few days, I just like to leave my console off.  My wife on the other hand likes to drag other people into playing.  So this past week this is how my gaming has gone.

Fun games are usually more fun when the allotted number of players are present, such as. . . oh. . . Guitar Hero/Rock Band.  I like to play bass because that’s what I’m more comfortable with and would have been okay except for the fact that I’m not the one saying who gets to play what.  I ended up on vocals.  I hate singing in the vicinity of people.  Sure, I did okay on easy and still did okay on medium….  but very uncomfortable doing it.  My wife even got a few more music games we didn’t have to round out the collection to the point we’re missing perhaps 5 of the specialty add-ons like Metallica and a couple Rock Band Expasion Tracks.  I also seemed to have grabbed an achievement or two I never would have gotten since we  had all 4 players.

After our original company went back home, we watched my nephew for a couple of days…  And he likes to play Halo.  Yes, he is better at it than I am and yes, my style of play isn’t quite right for the Halo franchise but there are moments that are fun (like grunt headshots with birthday party on).  What bothers me is that my nephew will get bored and wait for me to look down the cliffside to see what the enemy is up to and kill me from behind.  Makes the whole thing less than fun because I die enough without someone helping me out.  I also let him have the cool weapons while I rely on the common weapons.  Together we were able to make it through on Heroic difficulty so there was an achievement at the end and that at least takes a bit of the sting out.  Too bad he’s advancing rank at four times my rate which makes me realize that I just don’t know how to play this Halo…  :p 

Now the company is gone and I’m ready to rest a little and go back to work to get back into my little routine.  I will have to see if I can get back to my favorite genres as well.

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A Little Role-Playing… A Little Experimentation

June 11, 2011 at 11:45 pm (Games)

After starting and stopping Dragon Age a couple of times, I finally turned my attention to my mage character in an attempt to get through the story.  I have discovered that this is a fairly difficult game to play.  I have to keep tweaking the way the NPCs act during battle since on more than one occasion my party gets wiped out quickly by the bad guys.  Perhaps that’s why I’m having trouble with this game – I’m use to just having to worry about me OR you get a chance to tell each party member what to do each round of battle.  But as I tweak and experiment, my little party survives a little bit longer.  Will it last?  who knows, but I’ll be interested to see what the other races and classes are like when I am able to delve into the other origins.

Meanwhile, I’m kinda having fun with a new twist that the 360 threw out to us during E3.  Kinect Fun Labs has four gadgets to mess around with which uses the Kinect (which is probably why they put the word Kinect in the title).  Kinect Me, Googly Eyes, Bobblehead, and Build a Buddy are the four gadgets available and even though they are similar, each one had it’s own little quirkiness (in a good way) to it.  Unfortunately, I have poor lighting and it tends to make me look like I’m well tanned when in actuality I’m rather pale.

Kinect Me lets you create an avatar likeness of yourself and then using 1 of 6 backgrounds, make a variety of poses which you can share with your friends.  I think half the fun is to find out just which poses translate well.  Not exactly happy with the ‘hair’ part of it, but it does a pretty good job and getting your clothes color right and can almost get writing legible.

Googly Eyes was the second one I tried and I instantly got the theme song stuck in my head.  It’s too catchy!  :p  With this gadget, you take an object and put it in front of your kinect so it takes a picture of the front and back of it.  Then it places googly eyes on it.  Don’t like where the eyes are?  You’re able to choose from 6 different placements including no eyes at all.  I’m not ashamed to admit I have a few stuffed animals and got those scanned in first.  Later, I tried to scan in the Xbox controller but was told the object was too small.  Another point of contention is that there is only one stage – a city looking place.  I think it would have been fun if there were a few other locations to do your ‘skits’.

Bobbleheads is probably my favorite.  Similar to Kinect Me, but making your head bigger and… well… bouncier.  You also have a chance to use 1 of 6 costumes.  Like the rest of the gadgets, I found something that I didn’t quite like with it.  The inablity to change the voice recording.  If you want to change it, you basically have to go through all the steps again.  I’m working on making a little skit that uses 4 bobbleheads (that’s the most you can record at one time) so that when it records a video it will play out humorously (of course).

Last of the four gadgets (at least for now) is Build a Buddy.  Very much like Googly Eyes in the respect of scanning in an object and bringing it “alive”.  After scanning in an object though, instead of putting eyes on it you give it a personality which is picking three of six attributes available.  Depending on what you pick, you can have anything from a Wizard to a Clown.  There are 6 personalities in total and you are prompted to give it a voice as well.  Though the gadget tells you what to say.  Then you jump through a few hoops to prompt your new buddy to do a few actions.

I am looking forward to more of these gadgets in the future and can see this is a project that just may come out with some breakthrough moments.  Meanwhile, the Dragons are trying to call me back to the battlefield.

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Feeling. . . Orange?

May 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm (Games)

It would appear that I’ve gotten away from the horror genre for now.  It’s amazing what a bad game can do to a person.  Luckily Bulletstorm washed the bad taste out of my brain.  Fun little game in its own right, but after going through the small campaign I needed to start working on something else.

Looking through my games I came across a little title that slipped past my attention for a few years so decided to get back to the Orange Box.  I finally made it through Half Life 2 so the next time I load up the game, I’ll be on Episode 1.  Or try to get the advanced puzzles in Portal.

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