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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Surviving the Horror

May 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm (Games)

For some odd reason I’ve been playing some Horror/Survival games on my 360.  With having the week off from work, I thought I could really get some game time in.

First up was Alan Wake.  Not bad for a game since the controls were pretty responsive (not so well while driving – but they can never get driving good when it’s based on being on foot most of the time).  I get a feeling though while playing the game (and I can say this because there really was no definitive ending) that it felt like the shrink is behind it all.  I’ve done a ton of reading and those pyschological thrillers that have psychologist in them more often than not turn out to be the guy causing all the problems.  Well, I guess there’s no way to verify unless Alan Wake gets a sequel.  I hate collections – I can never find enough to get them all, however, I did come close with the radio programs by finding all but  one.  I also found all but two of the tvs… err.. that’s tvs as in televisions, not transvestites – I didn’t find any of those in the games.  :p  the Downloadables were okay, but to tell the truth I thought there could have been just a tad bit more to them.

Currently, I’m trudging through a game I can’t quite get into.  I think the biggest drawback is the horrible controls.  The controls are so bad it detracts from whatever the story is.  For some reason I have to fight with everything just to move around.  Then just when you’re getting around they change the whole camera angle and controls on you – but only for one room.  Forget driving.  You can’t even take a right hand turn without veering into oncoming traffic.  Cut scenes?  How about one for opening a door?  Every. Single. One.  In fact, there are a lot of cut scenes.  If it wasn’t for the subtitles (which you cannot skip or hurry) you would miss a lot since the annoying background music gets louder while people are talking.  Still, I’m trying to get through an “easy” playthrough. . . in which I die a lot because quick time effects SUCK!  Anyway, if you want to know which dog of a game I’m playing right now, it’s Deadly Premonition.  Yeah, the one that everyone says sucks except for maybe a handfull of people.

I guess I still have to go back to Condemned 2 and Jericho, but I also have other games like Alone in the Dark and Silent Hill: Homecoming still waiting to be played. . .  It’s downright, scary.


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Hittin’ the Bargains

April 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm (Games)

Now that I’ve finished up Borderlands completely, I have a little bit more time for other games.  Granted it will be games I play with my brother, but different games nonetheless.  April has been quite the month for getting LIVE arcade games for a bargain.

For instance, Gyromancer has been a game I’ve been wanting to play and wham!  there it is at a more reasonable price.  Limbo, same story.  Throw in Ilomilo and Chime and there are four games for about the price of two of them.  Not bad in my mind and so far I’ve been playing three of those almost constantly.  Puzzle Quest 2 is also sitting out there… I’m gonna have to get a few more points though.

I also grabbed a few DLCs.  Fallout: New Vegas’ Dead Money and I think one for Fable III, but I haven’t played it yet so I can’t remember off the top of my head.  I see that one of the DLCs for Alan Wake is out there as well, but I’m still on the fence for that one since it’s the second one and I don’t have the first one yet.  I keep checking every week to wee what’s new and keep my eye open for those 1 day only sales… 

As you can see, I’ve increased my game count . . .  as well as “games not played yet” count!  :p  If I can ever get a couple of days off, I’m gonna start working on a few more of those bad boys and attempt to catch up.

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Learnin’ to Dance

April 13, 2011 at 11:37 am (Games)

Despite all the games I have that haven’t been started (including titles from ’07) I started “playing” Dance Central.  Yeah, a 43 year old guy trying to play at being in his 20’s…  I just know I’m gonna throw out a hip  :p   But seriously, some of the stuff I tried is fairly easy while there are a couple of moves that have me tripping all over myself.  Oh, I know I’ll eventually get it but for now I’ll keep my moves to myself in the privacy of my own home.

So to break it down, I’ve only worked on one song (Poker Face) and one move has got me stymied.  the other thirteen moves I think I’ve got down fairly well but it’s going to be a little practicing to get a perfect score.  After about 45 minutes on that I decided to try ‘Hey Mami’ and stunk everything up.  I had nothing but problems trying to learn the first several moves and finally got a few of them right.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll try it all again and maybe check out some of the other modes that the book says there are.

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Almost Done

April 3, 2011 at 11:29 am (Games)

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, but sometimes things interfere to prevent me from the time I need.  However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been gaming!  In fact, I have been dedicating some time to finishing a game or two.

Borderlands has been the main focus as my brother and I have been doing our best to finish this title up.  As it goes, it took most of my time to finishing the Robolucion downloadable content by having to find enough special item drops to get the three last collection achievements.  After that I was able to focus on getting to level 61 for my soldier.  As an aside, Ned’s Zombie Island on playthrough 2 is a great place to level up… even better if you have some quests to complete as well.  Anyway, once we both got to level 61… Crawmerax was our target.  HOLY COW! Talk about an impossible task…  It took us many attempts and too many deaths before hitting the net for some suggestions.  Even with help, it took more deaths and a lot of time to finally kill this beast.  Finished up the Secret Armory and now the only thing left is the Underdome…

Torchlight was a game I bought from the Live Arcade and have been working on in this time frame.  I’m down to one last achievement and should be getting that this month (hopefully) as I find ways to increase my fame.

Bejeweled Blitz has one more single player achievement to get and it’s one that takes lots of grinding.  Unfortunately there are two I’ll probably never get since I have to play online for them and other than my brother, I’m usually not too confident in playing games against people.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to in the gaming world.  Now to go and figure out what VB Script and Korn Shell is all about so I’m not floundering in a class that work wants me to take. . .

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Back to RPGs

March 10, 2011 at 11:48 am (Games)

The few hours I have to dedicate to my love of gaming has found me doing some heavy duty role playing.  There’s just something so satisfying about leveling up your character and I have to say the more custimizable the leveling up, the more fun.  Even when there’s a limited amount of what you can do or at the end of the game all stats are going to maxed out, there’s something to be said about deciding where to put that one skill point or what attribute you want to raise.  That being said (typed) just what RPGs have I been delving into?

This past weekend my brother and I decided to return to Pandora with my Soldier and his Hunter as we traveled the Borderlands in hopes to knock out some quests and get a few experience points closer to that next level.  I can’t help but think that despite the inablity to raise attributes and the only thing you can level up in reality is your proficiency in a weapon (by how much you use a certain type of weapon) and your special skill (like the turret for the soldier or the bloodwing for the hunter), that this is probably one of the most fun RPG I’ve played.  Sure, it’s more like a cross between a shooter and an RPG – but it has all there is to like like a twisted sense of humor and an almost endless stream of missions.

ArcaniA is another game I’ve been playing a lot of during the week.  I’m a bit torn on this game.  The basics are there, but it reminds me soooo much of Two Worlds.  Farther back in time I posted about Two Worlds and gave it a lukewarm rating which is about a step and a half above what the rest of the world thought of it.  It is very disappointing that there are a couple of achievements that are broken (probably just one is broken but since another depends on that achievement it makes it unobtainable).  I’m going through a second time on the hardest difficulty to see if I can’t get the achievement for that.  I never was very good at finding collectibles, but I finished missing 3 graves, 5 statuettes, 6 artifacts, and 8 symbols.  I was pretty sure I scoured the place but I realized that there were a couple of places I didn’t have access to…  I will have to figure out how to get to those places.

I have FINALLY began Dragon Age: Origins.  Well, when I say began, I mean picking up after a measly hour I played before.  In fact, I finished up the origin of the mage and have made it to the first little town and now the main game is underway.  I still haven’t played enough to give it a review, but hopefully I’ll be able to get back to the game before another year passes by.

Unfortunately, getting back to Dragon Age has been interrupted because I downloaded Torchlight.  Heh heh heh this game is highly entertaining for me.  Dungeon delving for treasure … you can’t beat that with a stick… well, a staff maybe which you can enchant and if it has sockets you can even set gems into it for increased ability.  I’ve decided to play as the Alchemist (mage) and it’s tough figuring out just what spells to learn when I level up.  But having a “pet” to help out is interesting since you can teach it spells and equip it with certain items as well.  Anyway, I have ventured down to the 5th level of the mines and I’m ready to pursue more treasure, kill more monsters, and… well… spend more time that I care to admit sitting on the couch and pushing buttons!

Meanwhile there are still games sitting around that I haven’t even started yet… >sigh<  the only drawback to RPGs… they’re all pretty much time sinks and you have to decide on which one you should focus on.  Kinda like deciding whether you want to raise your strength to do more damage or invest in that point to dexterity to help you dodge or even increase your intelligence to give you better spells.


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New Addition

February 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm (General)

I’m not talking about math here.  Over the weekend, we traveled three hours and picked up a new puppy.

She’s a cute little miniature dachshund that is 10 weeks old and longhaired silver dapple.  We haven’t decided on a name yet, but so far we have it down to two names.  Baillie (Baylee?) or Cali.  The reason it’s down to those two names is because there’s no pretty word for demon dog.  :p

Today we spent going to the vet to make sure everything looked good and get an appointment for her last couple of shots.  Then, because we both had a furlough day, we showed her off to our co-workers.  She slept almost the whole time so when we got home… you guessed it, she was all. wound. up.

She gets along with the other two dachshunds (or I should say the other two tolerate her) and Maggie wants so bad to play, but Maggie wants to chase and the new pup wants to just pounce.  They’re almost on the same page but it’ll take a little time before they’re both running rampant.

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Super Weekend

February 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm (Entertainment)

The much hyped game between Pittsburgh and Green Bay is at its end and I’m so happy to see my team overcome a few more injuries to put a perfect end to a huge season.  I am glad to see that both teams were in it up until the final seconds because I hate blowouts.

Despite a few swipes (very few) both teams played class football, not letting emotions take over and getting into fights.  Defense was the word going into the game and for me it seems that is where the game was won.  Three turnovers by the Steelers seemed to be enough to keep the Packers ahead despite the final run by the Steelers to try and win the game on the final drive.  Give it to Rodgers, though, when they needed to get points he was able to get the team to the endzone.

After it was all said and done, it was an amazing game to watch.  Now all that’s left for me to do is to wait for my shirt to come in.  I now have a new favorite team (as far as players go) to replace the fond memories I have of Majik Man, Sharpe, Fullwood, Bennett, Jackie, Paup, Mandarich, and Query.   Thanks; Rodgers, Driver, Starks, Nelson, Jennings, Jones, Mathews, Hawk, Shields, Woodson, Collins and the rest of the team who all were able to step up their play after the 15 IR victims to even get them here, not to mention their cool under pressure handling of the Super Bowl pressure.  Mind you, I’ve had favorite players – but team level favorites are tougher to come by.

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