Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Friday again! What are YOU playing the weekend? :P

So yeah, it's one of those weekends where it's obvious not much is going on so most of us who are gamers will be filling the relaxation time with some gaming. It's that opportunity to put some real time in without the mamby pamby "we should do something" crap that comes up during most other gaming sessions. So far I've eliminated a couple of titles from my playlist. (A Review for non Readers) In recent posts you'll have read that I've completed Divinity 2, Bayonetta, and realized that I am unable to force myself to finish Lost Odyssey due to frustration. Last night I spent about 90 minutes trying to play Tomb Raider Underworld and it ended up turning into a "run to the computer for a walkthrough" affair because by the end, I wanted it done and I wanted out. I finished the First Mediterranean Level and that wasjust enough to know that the game wasn't my forte. The cameras, which I already had felt were bad, were WORSE, the control was a little better than first impressions but the magic "ledge" issue that has plagued Tomb Raider from the start (ie: you either need a perfect jump or the force to mentally know what ledges you could grab onto or not as they are NEVER clearly marked) I don't think I've ever played a series that has been more frustrating to play than Tomb Raider.

Anyway, as per my list from the other night, that leaves us with Wolverine, Bioshock 2 and AvP. I noted before that I'm finding Wolverine a bit repetitive, so I think we move into AvP. We also now have 3 traders, in Divinity2, Bayonetta, and Wolverine. Yay! New game hunting this weekend. :D Woot! I should just use it as trade for Final Fantasy 13. But... I think I'll rent it first to make sure that it doesn't have LOSS, the "Lost Odyssey Snore Syndrome". It's a big fear of mine now. I don't need live action, but I do need better load screens. (see previous post on thoughts for that)

I'd like to play more NHL 10, but I'm to a point where I want to play people of EQUAL skill level, not just romp the comp or get murdered by online wierdos. Hockey has been a passion of mine since a child. I've played and owned most every video game version of hockey (well, the good ones anyway) since it was first conceived back on the old atari! There is just nobody who shares this passion with me, unless it's a gamerscore hunt. If you are reading this and you ARE an NHL 10 fan like myself, message me in the comments here and we'll start a game!!!!

That's it for this week folks! See you next post!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Random musings from the blogosphere.

So yesterday I followed the lead of my good friend and whittled down my facebook contact list. I was sick and tired of farmville, animal planet, and whatever stupid games are on there (yes, there ARE some stupid games in the world) AND people's mindless dubbings cluttering up my daily news section in facebook. I appreciate the some folks WANT to announce that they are drinking burnt coffee to the world once in a while. But... hourly updates are a bit much. Blah. Anyway, I, at my peak of facebooking, had a contact list in the realm of 190 people. After the purge, I hit 53. I can still whittle some down, but I don't want to cut ALL my reading public out for this blog (as it is the only place I advertise it!).


Sample unedited HP Camera Shot

Photography is a wonderful thing. I truly started taking pictures as a serious hobby about 5 or 6 years ago. I had just separated from my ex-fiancee (should you be reading this, you are still wonderful dear! Congrats on the pregnancy!) and basically needed something to curb my then depressed thoughts. I picked up a HP 4.1MP superzoom camera. To be honest with you, it really sucked save for the long lense on it. It left a focus line through the middle of most shots and the colours were really muted in it.I did get some lovely shots with it. (I SHOULD have, given I took over 10000 pics with it)

Sample edited Photo from the Sony.

I later moved to a Sony DSC-H5.1MP 12x optical zoom. It, also, is a weak camera but once again, I have shot over 10000 pics with it, so I've managed to get some real beauties out of it.

I've just added a couple of shots that I had handy here. You can check out my flickr account for more at

The photography bug just hasn't been with me lately, as I've had significant difficulty coming up with ideas for pictures. Here in Newfoundland, it's hard to get creative about it as pretty much everything feels like it's be done already. So, I'm left somewhat of a dilemma. I am now part of a local group called Camera 35 (many of whom have pics on flickr as well, accessible via the link above). We have a little competition ongoing now where we have to shoot:

1. A self portrait
2. Something with the theme of "desolate".

I want to be different. Anybody can shoot in the mirror or set a timer and shoot themselves or go shoot a rock quarry for desolate. I want something bold, original, and a joy to look at. I was thinking greyscale for the self portrait, but that's pretty much as far as I've got for any of it. I still have about 7 days for this one, but it'll be a struggle.


Finally, back to the games realm, I wanted to talk a little about Tomb Raider: Underworld. I sampled a crumb of this cookie of doom last night and have to say I'm somewhat disappointed. While it is a turn for the better from the pitiful outings the franchise has had in the past 5 or 6 years, it's still difficult to control, camera angles and control are bad, and still has the feel on a last gen game. I won't be too hard on it yet, as I've just completed the prologue and have much running and shooting to complete before I can pass judgement... but if this were the entire game, it'd be a BIG disappointment.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Giving up the Lost Odyssey...

I think my taste in games has changed. When I was younger and JRPG turn based action was the rage, I'd have sunk so many hours into Lost Odyssey that I would have likely burned out my 360. Now a days... I dunno. I do enjoy a properly laid out RPG as much as anyone, but I find Lost Odyssey a very slow game.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've sunk some time into this title. Probably 40 hours or more, although I'd say the last 10 were forced because I felt compelled to. The game is gorgeous. The world is compelling. The story, as well, is compelling and interesting. But the combat is soooo slow and uninteresting, and the load times for literally EVERYTHING are so painful and dragged out, I'd estimate a good 10 hours of the 40 I've played were watching the stats of characters on load screens. Good lord.

Now I cannot be TOO hard, this game IS a first generation title that when it was designed, I imagine the 360 hardware was far harder to develop for. When it first came out, load screens were the norm and accepted. Now, while I'm not an anxious gamer by any means, a well laid out plot is worth waiting for, this is a bit much.

One of the things that I don't like either is adding in puzzles that are ridiculous and are in place JUST TO HAVE A PUZZLE THERE and TO LENGTHEN THE GAME. Lost Odyssey is filled with these. The last straw for me being some temple on disk 4 where you ride these little platforms around a maze all the while dodging random encounters. So every time an encounter hits, you wait for the battle to load (as many as 45 to 60 seconds pass waiting), fight the battle, wait for the main game screen to load again, then start again. Gah. Then you have to figure out the puzzle again. Meanwhile, if this WEREN'T a stupid puzzle, the gaps that you ride these little platforms are so small that you could simply JUMP them, wait, even SKIP over them. But no. It's a stupid, needless puzzle. Gah. Again.

So as for "next game played" from my last list, it isn't going to be Lost Odyssey obviously. This title goes back to it's owner. :( I did however pick up Wolverine again. It is getting a wee bit repetitive going back and forth from Alkali Lake and Mexico, same 5 baddies. It's still really fun to slap 'em around and chop 'em to bits though. Should have a third trader by Saturday, as Bayonetta turned out to be finished last night! Funky ending, a little over the top. Then again, everything in this title is a little over the top, so I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was.

Back tomorrow with more on Wolverine.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Serious Gamer vs. Recreational Gaming

This is a topic that was suggested to me by my wife Steph. It's a very fine line that some gamers, myself included, tend to walk when it comes to gaming in general. I consider myself to be a recreational gamer, in the sense that my only goal in gaming is to relax and enjoy my time with it. It's a time waster, it's a way for me to have fun. In some people's eyes, I'm sure I'd be considered a serious gamer, as I play a LOT. I love games and it's what I want to do in the nights after work and supper and chores. Especially in the winter, when it's too darned cold to do anything outdoors.

To me a serious gamer is into it for competition. That competition is increased universally with the advent of trophies and achievements. Now one can see where he stands globally with his gamerscore or trophy level. Some play for money. Some play for prestige. Some play because they have nothing else in the world to hold onto save for their digital avatars. Anyway you look at it, it can be considered a serious habit and one that can become unhealthy if left unchecked.

It's these serious gamers that keep me, as a rec player, from playing a lot online. I like games, I'm good at games, but I just do not hold a candle to someone who does it religiously day in day out with no other purpose in life. In games like Burnout Paradise, NHL 10, World of Warcraft, etc., online play is a key component to what you do to get full enjoyment out of a title. When I go on an none of my friends are able to play, I simply say "oh well" and not bother, because some crazy assed guy is only going to smash my car to bits for the fun of it in Burnout, destroy my confidence with a 10-0 score in NHL, and flame me and tell me off because I haven't studied my baddies in WoW. Why would I ever bother to play a game like that? I play for enjoyment, not for disappointment and rudeness. Sure, I could try and practice and get better in Burnout and NHL, and do my study and level grinding in WoW, but that teeters dangerously on the border of being "work", something for which a game isn't supposed to be for me. So, I just continue my single player experience and not bother with online play save for with my friends.


Bayonetta continues to impress me with it's visual style. Let's set aside the fact that the game seemingly was designed by a team of pre-pubescent boys giggling everytime one of them says the word "boobies" for a moment. Graphically, the game is incredibly sound. The constant motion of the characters and environments can be dizzying, but is meant to be I believe because it helps with the immersion of the player in the game. The villains can be a little repetitive, but I guess in ANY game the "filler henchmen" guys can get a little repetitive. The fact that they are so full of life seemingly makes you nearly forget you've killed the same guy 50 times before. The bosses are absolutely & unequivocally amazing to look at and to play against. I fought a boss in a "coliseum" like environment last night and to be honest with you, it felt very, VERY epic. The colours in every aspect of the game are rich and lush, right down to the cobblestones in the streets.


I'm at a crossroads as to what to play next. I'll be through Bayonetta by the weekend, and now I have the choice of these fine titles.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Alien vs. Predator
Bioshock 2
Lost Odyssey

All of these titles I've dipped into briefly (save for Darksiders, which I'm about 25% through) and do enjoy. Wolverine is the first iteration of the character in a game I've truly enjoyed. You cut guys up with wanton hate and destruction in mind. There's no holding back. The only other version of the character I've remotely liked was in the Capcon vs. fighting series, but it was over the top with not real visual cue that you were cutting into someone with devil's teeth-like claws.

Darksiders, I feel I should playthrough and finish simply because I've gotten so far in the game already. It's not that it's a bad game, I do enjoy it, but I can easily say that I wouldn't miss it if it were to suddenly be needed for a trade. I've just gotten past a pretty cool spot where you have a little competition with a guy on who kills the most angels. Very interesting indeed.

Alien Vs. Predator is a title I don't think I should have gotten, but the trade bug had me for a day and I just couldn't help taking advantage of easy deals. So far it looks like critics may have been a bit harsh on the title, as visually it seems fine. Nothing ground breaking but certainly nothing wrong with it. The control once explained to me seems fine, it just has a little bit of a learning curve.

Bioshock 2 right now is out on lender, so I think the point is moot here. But having said that, the first 45 minutes or so of it that I played, I really enjoyed. I don't care for the multi player stuff as much as some other players (see above) but the game is smooth as silk with fantastic control and an amazing atmosphere. This goes into the "must play" list for sure. It's just getting to it. :P

I stuck Lost Odyssey in here because I have a copy of it borrowed from a good friend and I'm feeling a little guilty that I've had it so long and it hasn't been put in the system yet. :P I have gotten about 40 hours in, 3 and a half disks worth of a 4 disk game. But some of the games characters are SO AWFUL that it's hard to even look at them. (The two kid characters are probably some of the WORST WORST WORST characters I've ever seen in gaming... I want them to die. Hideously. Christ.) It also has parts that are annoyingly difficult just to add length to a game. Seriously, who wait for a trolly or a moving platform when you can simply walk the tracks over to the eventual goal? Seriously. Anyway, I feel "compelled" to play this game, I don't "want" to play it. It'll be a good warm up to the eventual playbill that is "Final Fantasy 13"...

If we were to go "logically" and put these games in order, I should play Lost Odyssey first, as I'm almost done it anyway. Then Darksiders based on amount completed and the fact that the game has already started to lose value as the new price has dropped to $49 from it's original $69. This is a bad sign for the game trader in general. I would then play Bioshock 2 and then AvP, as I think I'll enjoy it more and it'll give friends a chance to pick up a copy should a little inpromptu multiplay come into effect. Wolverine is hard to place as to me, even though I like the game a lot, it seems like collection filler, as I got it for a sickly cheap price and never truly intended to play it to begin with. So I'll stick it last for now and use it as trade bait if need be. We'll stick with that I think.

Based on this, the trade count for my next title goes as such:

Divinity 2

Possible traders:

Keepers til done:
Bioshock 2

The WANT list:
Dragon Age: Awakening
Final Fantasy 13
Hard Rain

All in all, it's been a far better year so far in gaming than I had originally expected. Hell, It's been so good I blabber about it on the internet now! :D


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Check that on next game...

I played a little bit of both Darksiders and Bayonetta, and I'll definately be playing Bayonetta thru next. Whoa, it's a blast. A button masher but absolutely filled to the brim with slick style and visuals. Just finished chapter 2 on it. Loads of fun and not hard to play at all.

Updates on the game as I play through, much like Divinity 2.


Warning: Spoiler Alert. I just finished Divinity 2.


So I just finished D2 and I gotta say, what a DIFFERENT ending. This is the first game I have ever played that basically had the endgame showing you that all the work you had just done through 40 hours of gaming... was for the end of the world. Wow.

The final boss fight was somewhat hard. I was level 34 when I finally got there. There was a room full of baddies who could easily toast you all by themselves if left unchecked. You have to truly utilize your jumping and tumbling skills to get through it. It took me a few tries but I finally beat it, and the endgame was really a sight to behold. You get trapped with "The Divine" for all of eternity to watch Damian and Ygerna rule the world. Wow. I'm still awestruck.

I have to say, it was a wholly enjoyable experience to play the game, expecially since it's been universally panned by critics. (Ratings generally range from 4.5 to7 out of 10). There was lots of graphical problems but they didn't make the game unplayable. The sound was good and the story was well told. Worthy of a playthrough for any RPG gamer.

Next up, getting through Darksiders!


Friday, February 19, 2010

My first "Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V"

This is a thread that was posted on my friend's private message board that I felt was an interesting conversation. It's about fanboys and how they can't get past their ignorant feelings. It's a good read. The original article is from IGN.


State of the Console (Flame) War
Editorial: Your favorite game system sucks. Mine's better.
by Rus McLaughlin

February 1, 2010 - Let's get this out of the way right up front.

The Wii is a toy intended mainly for people in diapers - infant or adult - and rest home bowling leagues. Anyone who bought it with semi-serious gaming in mind has spent three years huddled around the same handful of discs like a caveman protecting his last spark of fire. The PlayStation 3 used to be a cheap Blu-ray player; now it's a copy machine (Home = Second Life) that jumps on trends (Trophies = Achievements) years after (Sphere/Arc = Wiimote) they become trends. Unless it's full backwards compatibility or controllers with interchangeable batteries.

The PSP is losing relevance at the speed of light. The Go deserves to be the first failed platform of this hardware generation. The DS is dated to the point that Nintendo has to release a new version every year, and by "new version" I mean "new color." As for the Microsoft Exploder... well, the Xbox 360 is exactly what happens when a software company that spends years making buggy operating systems decides to build a mansion by nailing two boards together. Grading on that curve, the best a Games For Windows stamp can hope to inspire is inappropriate laughter, leaving just one perfect gaming platform: the Mac. Cue even more inappropriate laughter.

Okay, that should get just about everybody hating on me. Possibly a few Photoshop fiends are even now scrambling for my Facebook page to burn my image in internet effigy. Again. Or else you think I'm totally wrong about one of the above, and dead-on right for the rest. The more cynical and wily (but mostly cynical) among you probably figure I'm just baiting the fanboys to provoke a flame war and up pageviews.

Friend, I don't need to provoke anything. It is physically impossible for anyone to write about a specific gaming system without one rabid fanbase going extra rabid while opposing fans scream favoritism, stupidity, and/or corporate bribery. I've personally been accused of Nintendo bias, Microsoft bias and Sony bias, all in the comments for the same column. I'm rather proud of that. If I'm biased for everything, I'm de facto biased towards nothing, right?

Still, that's nothing compared to what happens when you start savaging each other. Last month, I wrote a column about Halo 3: ODST. Two hours after it posted, the opening shot was fired. An hour after that, the comments went full-bore Xbox vs. PlayStation. This doesn't apply to everyone, of course, but a sizable block of gamers will stand and defend their platform to the death, often while condemning all others to death.

They link to statistics that "prove" their claims and "disprove" the claims of others. They list standout exclusives, at least a third of which they have not played because the release dates are still months or years out, and denounce exclusives on other consoles as gold-plated turds. They do all this with the single-minded fanaticism of a sports fan with a team in the playoffs against their arch-rival. If that's not you, odds are you have no trouble picturing exactly what I'm talking about, and you hate it.

But that passion, that complete and utter devotion, fascinates me.

Certainly, a little internet anonymity makes anyone bold, but we put a lot of time, effort and money into our gaming. It means something to us. We revere the classics and eagerly anticipate what comes next. When someone calls your favorite's importance into question, it's not hard to go for your guns and come out blasting. For some, the mildest slight is enough. I'm a big fan of the Socratic school of debate, but the levels to which it's taken on any gaming message board would prompt Socrates to ask for a second shot of hemlock, please, with a cyanide chaser.

As an example, one particular commenter touted my belief that ODST didn't merit any awards (or even consideration) as absolute proof that ODST is "trash," even though I called it a good game twice in the article and once in the headline. And he vigorously maintained this position against all comers.

It's not simply enough to state an argument or counter-argument and move on. Militant gamers have to "win." Their opinions must reign supreme. All others must be called out for the glue-sniffing lies they are. The hacks who voiced them must be crushed into silence. It's not unlike the text version of a typical online deathmatch; attack, attack attack. No retreat, no surrender. Except nobody racks up points or kills. That's got to be a little frustrating.

It also makes one wonder where all this animosity comes from, so I'll link to a few statistics of my own. These NPD numbers are old (predating the PS3's very merry Christmas sales), but as of last September, if you lived in America and self-identified as an Xbox owner, there was only an 18% chance you also owned a PlayStation 3. About a third of PS3 owners also bought a 360. Xbots and PlayStationites alike bought into the Wii 42% of the time, but if you're a Nintendaddict, you don't care much for Microsoft (26% cross ownership) and care even less for Sony (14%).

The lines of embarkation are pretty clear. At some point, the majority of gamers made a choice: "This is how I game. This is my platform." Likely it was based primarily on the handful of games you really wanted to play at the time, even if they weren't released yet or even on the horizon. Brand loyalty is incredibly strong in this console generation (all current consoles being sequels to past consoles), and because the investment is so high, mere cheerleading quickly escalates to actively hating the competition.

Most flame wars aren't much more than people trying to re-validate that original judgment call, though there are genuine grievances to point a finger at. The only human I know who still owns his never-broke-down Day One Xbox 360 is IGN editor Dave Clayman, and man, does he love to gloat about it. I'm on my third. That doesn't stop many Xbots from sticking by the white monster. Possibly because they've already sunk $900 into X-software already, but mainly because those are the games they want to play.

And that platform loyalty always extends to its premiere titles. Sometimes, it even intensifies. Chris Roper, one of the more vocal Sony supporters you'll ever encounter, received a bunch of fan mail calling for his immediate firing after he awarded Uncharted 2: Among Thieves a 9.5 rating instead of a perfect 10. Keep in mind, this review posted just shy of a month before the game's commercial release. In all likelihood, not one person demanding we bitch-slap Roper's career had actually played the full game. It's even funnier to consider the backlash if Roper reviewed the game without playing it, the same way those irate fans did. And then gave it that 10.

That's one reason a lot of game reviewers hate assigning scores. A score is nice as a quick reference guide to overall quality, but it doesn't tell you anything about a game's merits or deficiencies. I see a score like 7.5 and my brain translates it as "mediocre." Hell, on a high school math test, that's a "C," right? But on this particular site, a 7.5 game is defined as Good. Worth playing, with caveats. A 9.5 sounds a lot like a recommendation to me, but it gets a vocal contingent squawking about how that screws its aggregate score. Those are people who get sweaty over statistics while forgetting the all-important details... details they'd get if they actually read the review. Video-based reviews do themselves a big favor by explaining the score before revealing it. It's a shame modern web design prevents written reviews from doing the same.

You might disagree with him, but Roper had his reasons for docking Uncharted 2 a measly half-point. He wrote a four-page review. Seriously, it's all in there. But a lot of people insist it should've done better simply by virtue of the fact that Metal Gear Solid 4 and Grand Theft Auto 4 earned 10s. I can't honestly say that qualifies as any kind of logic, but arguing the point against a committed fanboy would be like sticking an ultra-reactionary neo-con and a Berkeley-raised neo-hippie in a bunker and asking them to agree on anything before you can bury them both in quick-drying cement. Somehow, I doubt I'd be the only one cheering the cement.

Put another way, I don't root for the gladiator. I'm here for the blood.

You guys should argue. You should champion your console, your games, your hobby. Celebrate what makes them great and challenge others to defend their favorites even as you defend your own, but don't sugar-coat it or ignore the successes of others. Anyone who does only demonstrates ignorance... not cleverness, and definitely not authority.

With the exception of the PSP Go, I own every current gaming system, including a positively evil gaming PC. We're not talking company-issued hardware; I bought them, with my money. Have they got faults? Yep. Is it fair to call those faults out? Double yep. I dined out on Sony's missteps for years (as an op-ed columnist, they really were the gift that kept on giving), I love harassing the Wii for its casual/hardcore schizophrenia, and I posted my Red Ring Diaries for the amusement of all. But the truth is, for all their issues, they're all good systems.

I'll say that again: they're all good systems.

Nintendo is this generation's innovator. Microsoft turned solo gaming into an online community. The technology under Sony's hood is a step towards the future. Anyone who thinks the Wii is just a happy meal for the kiddies hasn't played Dead Space: Extraction, Metroid Prime Trilogy or Mad World. Halo might have built the Xbox, but currently Microsoft's system sports one of the most diverse catalogues out there. Growing pains mostly over, the PlayStation 3 is now absolutely a good buy at a fair price, and it even has a solid line of A-list titles to feed it.

If you don't have one or more consoles, you are missing out on some very good games, period. Maybe not enough good games, or games that fit your particular tastes, to merit a purchase, but certainly enough to earn a piece of respect. There's nothing wrong with having favorites - I'd be lying if I said all my consoles get equal play time - or with being a vocal advocate for your team. There's also nothing wrong with enjoying the thrill of combat. Debating weak points and strong is how we help keep everyone from indie developers up to the Big Three honest. But that's tough to do when we're not honest ourselves.

So let's be honest. There's a difference between opinion and fact, and mistaking one for the other is what kicks off every flame war. Refusing to acknowledge the opinions of others keeps them going, usually straight downhill. Issuing pass/fail grades to things you haven't experienced is simply lazy non-thinking. This is a narrow way to live, but it does give one a sense of superiority. Meanwhile, the rest of us can stop trying to win the console war and just enjoy its benefits. I've got dozens of publishers and hundreds of developers trying to outdo each other for my amusement. I don't care which platform they cater to, so long as they succeed.

In my world, that's superior. Feel free to disagree.


Interesting article. I am a Sony fanboy for sure but I don't think I'm fanatic about it like a lot of fanboys. I'm looking forward to the day I get a 360 but I won't be doing it until after my PS3 backlog has been whittled down a bit and I won't be paying full price for it either.



A little insight here. "D" is a PS3 owner, and the board we are all on is 99% 360 players. It makes for some interesting discussions sometimes. Some got heated, but in the end we all appreciate, respect, and value each others opinions on gaming in general. Anyway, this was MY response to this article and "D's" thoughts.


The internet is a wonderful thing, and a devastating thing all in one. It ushered in the age of information. It made the world smaller. It gave people a voice.

The problem with all these things is that many of the freedoms and joys given to people because of the internet are taken advantage of. Especially by people of a lesser age, by people with no conscience, by people who are simply too stupid to talk so shouldn't (AVP2 reference people!) There is NOTHING wrong with being a fan boy. I'm truthfully a fanboy of gaming in general. If I'd bought a PS3 first, I'd be in the sony camp like "D" knees deep in great games. As it were, I got a 360, and I'm just the same, knee deep in great games anyway. Taking joy in a hobby is what you are supposed to do.

The vast majority of comments that are "flame-worthy" are posted by people who don't think about what they say, they just say it because they can. I will put most of the flamers in the underaged category, but there are morons out there who are of age, and once again, are simply too stupid to talk. :P I applaud "D" for sticking to his guns all this time. He's WELL outnumbered, but he likes what he likes, and respects that others like what they like. He just gives us that little opposing opinion once in a while, different is good. It creates great conversations, and leads us to want more. Hell, if it weren't for "D" applauding the PS3 so much, I likely wouldn't have bought the darn thing. :)

It's so sad that reading message comments has become so... irritating. I feel my brow crinkle a little when I hear really stupid commentary on games and systems or ANYTHING really. I'm not talking about someone who has an opposing opinion, but things like "360 sux becazz it doesn't have Uncharted". Geez...


It's food for thought, and maybe applies to things outside of gaming.


FREE BEER! and..... rockband!

This is a quick post as I only have about 5 minute left to lunch, but it's because I was on a....


I got a couple of coupons for the local brewery and went and got me a couple dozen beer. :D Great way to waste a lunch.

Tonight I am having a couple of fellas from work over (sorry Marcus! I'll be over after if it runs short!) to play a little rock band/ guitar hero. We've named our band "The Signfasts". (We work at the local Fastsigns). It'll be a hoot and a half and a fun way to spend a few hours with the folks I spend 45 hours of my life a week with. They are a good bunch. :D

With that, I'm off. I type as slow as an 80 year old with stubby fingers and arthritis in his knuckles. :P So much for 5 minutes!!!!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Elaborating on Yesterday... Sega CD, Sharing Games, and Divinity 2

Now that I have a full lunch hour to kill again (first in a while) I'm able to settle in and elaborate on some of my thoughts the past few posts.

First off, let's talk sharing and trading games. I'm a part of a little "lenders network" (more coined by me for this blog than anything) where we swap games back and forth between one another so we all don't have to go out and buy a new title. Granted, sometimes a title requires we all buy it (Gears of War 2, for instance) so we can all play together. But games like Dragon Age: Origins are great examples of games that can be purchased by one and traded off to a friend for something else (I currently have Lost Odyssey from the guy who has Dragon Age) as it is a single player experience and once you are done with it, it will likely sit on a shelf for months on end before you get back into it.

Trading games and sharing them is fun, as long as the people who are borrowing remember to actually give the games back. There have been times I've lent a title to someone where I've literally had to go and get the game back from their house 9 months later. To me, this is can be downright rude. If the guy was playing the game, that's one thing. Play away, I'm not using it or am playing something else, go mad. BUT... if it's just on his shelf, taking up space and they just can't be bothered to give it back, well... these people will find themselves out of the traders network real quick. This person I speak of I haven't lent to since, nor has anyone else.

Next, let's talk Sega CD. I like to drop a little random gaming history stuff into conversation once in a while. (32x... you are next!!!) I was first introduced to the Sega CD back in the late 90's when it was on it's way out. There were a bunch of titles with some really, REALLY bad FMV video in them, and some really GREAT RPG experiences. If you ever get a chance, check out these titles:

- Snatcher (one of the best games ever, similar to the Ace Attorney series)
- Lunar Silver Star Story (Great JPRG)
- Lunar Eternal Blue (Great JPRG)
- Vay (Great JPRG)

It also had some decent ports from Genesis in NHL 94 and Sonic CD.

The system itself was basically a genesis with CD capability (it was plugged into a Genesis actually) so it's color palette and processing power was very limited. The FMV games were really grainy and hard to watch, and a lot of the audio, which could have been so much more, was really, REALLY terrible. The system was very expensive as well, which was a real donkey killer in the end. The concept of making the Genesis "more" was great. The execution caused by the limitations and narrowmindedness of Sega executives really killed it.

Now onto Divinity 2. I've spoke quite a bit about this title over the past week or two simply because it's what I'm playing right now. The mini review, hopefully, will give you a brief window into what you might expect in the game with it being a little less jaded, which is what I have been gathering from numerous online reviews of the title. I didn't play it on other platforms, so I cannot compare it to them, I can only go by what I see and play on the 360. The game looks great until you move and then it gets really choppy with lots of screen tearing. Pretty basic stuff. The control is sound, the music is good. The story is engaging enough. I'd recommend STRONGLY that you try the demo available on XBL. It's a true representation of the game, not just beta coding. I personally felt some of the more harsh reviews (4.8 on IGN) may have been the sum of:

- Played the PC version which is likely better because a good PC can cut down on choppiness.

- The reviewer is jaded a little from playing too much in the ways of similar games. This is something that has to be taken into account from ANY reviewer site, as this is their job. Personally I love my job but also love to complain about it. Catch my drift?

- The game is a definate "7 out of 10" title, which means you either love it or hate it. I'm guessing the reviewer drifted to the dark side and hated it. I drifted towards the light. I really enjoy the game but can see it's flaws. I like it enough to not actually "recommend it", but to certainly recommend checking it out and deciding for yourself. The free demo makes this an easy choice for gamers looking for a decent RPG experience.

Well, that's it for today, see you tomorrow and thanks for reading!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brief Thoughts on... Sega CD.

I will certainly expand upon this soon, but let's look at what it did right.

- Move to CD format.
- Tried to be efficient in saving the consumer space on his TV Stand
- innovative game design (although a little before it's time and capabilities)

What it did wrong
- Poorly marketed
- Game designs a little too advanced for the systems capabilites
- small library

Will expand on this later!


Pt. 2, the Mini Review

Morning Break Time!

Just dropping an official "Mini Review" of Divinity 2: Ego Draconis.

Graphics: 5 out of 10. Technically, it's a mess. Choppy. Screen tearing. Draw in is bad. Not bad whenever you stand still and the characters are all neatly designed. The Dragons are nice.

Sound: 9 out of 10. I do enjoy a little wit in a game and this has it. The characters all sound interesting and well acted. There's even a whimsical narrator for small sound bites. The musical score, while seemingly generic, adds some real feelings to various settings.

Control: 7 out of 10. A little sluggish but I feel nimble, which is rare for a game like this. Ususally I feel like a tank. Menus are easy enough to navigate but could be cleaner.

Story: 7 out of 10. Standard fantasy fair. Could be a little more direct, as I have felt lost a number of times during the game.

Overall: 7 out of 10. Decent story and controls, bad graphics but amazing sound. A strong 7 out of 10 title.

Next update soon!


The Day Long Post

Today I thought I'd try a little something different, and I'd do a day long post, starting right now (10am) with updates throughout the day.

So far today it's beena whirlwind of activity. I lent out a bunch of games to the guys at work (one of them just gave their niece a Wii). I have to admit, I love sharing games and then talking about the experiences the person has with those games. I HATE trying to get them back though, as people tend to NEVER give stuff back and I have to feel like a heel when I need to go and ask for the stuff back.

Next update soon!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Programs that DO NOT WORK SUCK

Programs that only work the way they should about 60% of the time suck.

Gerber Omega, you suck.

That is all.


The Joy of Cola

I love coke. I love the little bubbles fizzling on my tongue, the almost euphoric joy I get when I actually crave one. I am an addict. :S

That is all. :)


Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekend plans anyone?

This seems to be a common place phrase on Fridays. Everyone in general tends to want to do SOMETHING, but few want to organize a plan that cultivates into something, so everyone tends to do what they typically do on weeknights and get a little extra sleep. I'm sitting here wondering what the hell I'll be doing the weekend outside of my torture that is EA Active.

I was thinking of watching a bunch of animated movies, actually. I have a whole collection of the better animated Marvel and DC movies from the past few years, and a new one too! Hulk Planet, which revolves around how some major players in the Marvel Universe shot the Hulk off to a distant planet because he was deemed too dangerous to stay on Earth any longer. This planet he proceeds to conquer. Interesting. I also have a copy of "Superman/ Batman: Public Enemies". This one I've seen bits and pieces of, and am excited to see through in it's complete entirety. Being 34 now, you'd think I would have gotten past my joy in well done animated materials, but I gotta say, screw the nay sayers. I've been watching quality animated movies since I was in diapers and it seems that they just keep getting better. DC really raised the bar back in the early 90's with the fantastic Batman: The Animated Series based around the styles of the Tim Burton movies. They continued to take that ball and run with it through a number of series which included Superman and the Justice League. They've translated that into great direct to DVD movies such as Batman: Sub Zero, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, Justice LEague: New Frontiers, and so on. The games for some of this stuff aren't up to par, with Batman Vengeance and Batman: Rise of the Shin Tsu really being nothing more than standard beat-em-ups.


I managed to get to the point in Divinity II where I get to be a dragon. This, while cool, isn't quite as good as I'd hoped it'd be. I find that visually it's clunky, and the controls are a little off. I think I'm being a little too harsh on it in what I say, as it's certainly manageable. But as a dragon, I always was under the impression that you were near invincible, and in this, you are a PUSSY. You charging in with flaming breath unless you are looking forward to an untimely death. Now you are strong, as your flame breath really does the job on the baddies. The lock on system is pretty good too. More later!


It is absolutely SICK how much money one can save on gaming so long as they simply shop around and play the trade racket. This week, Afro Samurai is STILL selling for 9.99 and trades for $23.33 (via the trade 3 get it free from EB), Prince of Persia sells on average of $14.99 to $19.99 at most shops but still manages to keep it's $23.33 trade value, and you can now get Heavenly Sword from Block buster for an ASTOUNDING $4.99 and STILL trade it for $23.33 at EB. Those three games alone will end up getting you a combined discount of at LEAST $40 on a new title. The three combine go for a meager $29.97. Go buy these three, go trade 3, and get a $69.99 game for free. Boom. How easy was that.


That's it for me this week folks! See you soon.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mid Week Blahs

So last night I fulfilled my dream to actually play EA Active on Wii and did day 1 of the 30 day challenge. To just do the challenge is obviously a bad idea, as fitness is an overall lifestyle that needs to be adopted, not just tucked into a 25 minute workout once daily.

There were a number of different activities, most of which I found fairly easy to do but did get a nice workout from. The dumbell lifts with the tension strip were ok, but I can handle a bit more. The lateral stuff and the crouching stuff (side lunges and rowing lifts respectively) were a bit more of a challenge for me as my back can get stiff really easily (car accident... a story for another day). I really enjoyed the punching bag and kick boxing. VERY fun, interactive, and a great calorie burn. The running in spot seemed a bit silly, but in the end it did do what it was supposed to do, warm me up and cool me down. The trainer pegged me to burn 165 calories in the workout, and I ended up burning 200. Not a bad start.

Now you see, I'm not fooling myself, I know that this game is NOT a substitute for complete, full workout. There's no weigh lifting, and there's only so much one can do when one stands in one spot. For me it's an attempt to start fresh, a first, baby step to a fitter life. I'll never be skinny, but I don't want to fall into SUPER FAT stages, which I could EASILY do if I left things unchecked. I have a beautiful, little wife. She deserves better than that from me. :)

Last night was the first night in I don't know how long that I didn't even turn on my 360. I generally don't use it near as much in the summer, but winter months it gets it's workout. I'm not even between games, as Divinity 2, if you've been reading this blog, is tops on my games list recently. I have spoken of Guild Wars, both games are remarkably similar actually. But... I see Divinity holding my attention until it's completion. I've been Guild War's bitch for over 4 years now. It can live without me for a week more. Even steph noticed I had not played it and commented. We did sit down and watch a couple of shows... current favorites include Chuck and Castle. While I've been finding chuck a little derivative, it's still entertaining enough, and Castle is just a pleasure to watch. The chemistry between the main characters in Castle and Kate Beckett is just unparalleled. The casting people certainly did a good job with these two.

I was thinking about adding a little cooking comment once in a while. I'll start today with a little bread bowl lasagna idea we had once and executed perfectly. Half bake a bread bowl. cut the center out. glaze with garlic butter, NOT butter. Make lasagna as you would normally (we did it without the cottage cheeze), take the left over bread and dip into melted garlic butter and bake along side of lasagna. Take out and serve. Yummy. The little bits of garlic bread alone are worth this idea. :)

That's it for today folks. See you tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Romance with Guild Wars

Guild Wars is a funny game really. I've heard it called "World of Warcraft Lite". I've heard it called crap, I've heard the glorious praise of many many neutral sites. In general, I love the game. To me it's a not repetitive Diablo. You have a series of skills, you can combine them into combos, you can use them to overpower, you can simply ignore them and chop frantically away at the villainous creatures inhabiting the game world. Either way, it's a simple game with a rewarding end that is easily accessible and fun to play. It's very long, it combined 3 full chapters and 1 expansion into a very fleshed out and large gaming world that literally puts games like World of Warcraft to shame in size.

It's unfair to compare it to WoW though, as it is a completely different game. World of Warcraft is a persistent, online realm. Guild Wars is not. Guild Wars really is more like Diablo. The only thing it has in common with WoW is that it is online. It also does it for free, which to be honest, was what originally lured me in.

About 4 years ago, my two best friends moved away. One for work, one for school. I wanted a way to help keep us in contact over the period they would be gone, and I suggested online gaming (that's my dreamy thinking, it may have been one of them, but who cares, it's my story!!:P) Anyway, I ran out and grabbed a copy of Guild Wars because I figured free online play and a fun fantasy world would be right up everyone's ally. They instead bought World of Warcraft. :P (Some thinking on my part...:P) Anyway, I started in on this game and really never did put it down. While everyone else was levelling and raiding in WoW, I was questing and following a story in Guild Wars. I did eventually sign up to WoW, but gave up on it far more quickly than the guys (we are all out now) as I found it a little repetitive and stale. I always loved my Guild Wars sittings. Getting to the next quest (there are NO unimportant kill or fetch quests in this game). Getting to level 20. Following the story. Finishing the odyssey that is. The first game of the trilogy, now dubbed Prophecies, took me over 100 game hours to finish. The ending was VERY fulfilling. As I completed it, the second game, Factions, took me about 75 ours to finish completely. I still have not finished the third installment, Nightfall, or the expansion called Eyes of the North.

Guild Wars got me through some tough times in life, like the break up of a long term relationship (not related to obsessive gaming, just the end of something bad), the loss of a shitty lifeline job, the long lonely nights of a single 20 something. Each and every night I played I was fulfilled and enjoyed it immensely. It wasn't an addiction, as there were long periods I didn't even play the game. (My recent stretch nearly a year!) It was simply something I enjoyed as a passtime and was contented to put it down once in a while.

This week, with the install of my new, $5, 128 meg video card, I was able to finally install and play the game again. I am so glad that my account is still there waiting for me and I can simply jump in, even after all this time and contribute to a party of strangers and contribute well. I typically use a hammer warrior and be the first to fight and squash anything that moves. I also have a dervish (think a grim reaper with a big fucking sickle), a monk (the typical rpg healer), and a ranger (bow, arrow, pet, you get the idea). I actually have 8 characters in total, but a couple were to just try them out to see if I liked them, which I didn't. The gaming style of your character revolves around what you want to do as a player. I hate being the monk, but he's very useful and easy to get into multiplayer parties as EVERYONE wants a monk in their party. But my passion in the game is warrior. I love smashing things mindlessly.

While others pander away at trying to kill 20 hour, 35 man raid dungeon bosses, I play more casually with the thought of doing it at my own pace with nobody telling me what to do, as I game for fun. World of Warcraft for me felt like a job, and I felt obligated to play as I was paying $15 a month to play. This game will be with me til they shut down the game servers and it drifts off into memory. I would recommend it to anyone, especially now as it is dirt cheap to buy and you can get multiple chapters for the price of one. you can even save a trip to the store and simply go online and buy, or try the 10 hour demo.

I'm off to run another mission before bed. Happy gaming folks, and I'll see you tomorrow.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

TV and why I love it

Television is truly the marvel of technology of the 20th century. Everything uses a monitor these days. TV, computers, gaming. Hell, checkouts at grocery stores use them. It is the means by which almost ALL information is provided to the general public these days. If a tv screen hadn't been created all those years ago, what kind of world would we live in?

This being a games blog, I have to start with gaming on tv screens. There's some doozies of tv screens available today. A couple of friends of mine use those snazzy 54 inch lcd beasts. I'm still stuck in standard def TV land. I have a monstrous 36 inch TV that is so big I could house homeless people in it. It suffices though, I am pretty sure I enjoy games just as much on that as I would on a hi def screen.

Does anyone notice that HI-Def service isn't that great yet? You see all these channels provided in "HD"... but I find them a little foggy at best. 720 res services just don't seem to cut it for the extra price you pay for them.Granted, I don't actually watch them much as I don't have the hidef service, but when I've visited people who do and switched between the hi-def and the standard (for some reason you get both) I haven't seen a discernable amount of difference worthy of the extra 20 bucks a month... (works to $240 bucks and taxes a year...)

Now I have seen a difference in video quality from standard def DVD to Hi-Def Bluray. They are so crisp and clean to watch. Is it worth it to upgrade? I beleive so, not because it's THAT much better, but because in a few years, DVD will have gone the way of VHS. It's just natural progression. You really see it today with all the great DVD sales now. Stores are trying to clear stock and people are eating it up. This is more a buyers market than a renters market too, making it a fun time to be a DVD reseller.

Computers have their snazzy monitors now too. I sit here on a 21 inch monitor, non LCD. It's, for lack of a better term, a BEAST. Flat screen and gorgeous. I love it. I just hate how fat an ass it has. Ah well.

Ok, off to the races again. Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Late night blogger

It is closing on 1am Sunday morning and I'm just fresh off of an sitting of Lego Rock Band. It's a cute little game, but really is just Rockband with a Lego skin on it. The boss battle was fun though, with each person taking a turn ZAPPING a big lego rocktopus. :D

I've been spending more time with Divinity 2 lately. It's a fun RPG, but I get the "lack of direction" feel from it on all corners. I've done most of the sidequests and now I'm at a critical story point and to be quite honest with you, I have NO freaking idea what to do. I'm in a room filled with gold and I can't touch it or I die. It's strange. Am I supposed to sit in there for a while and hope the powers that be see I don't care about the gold so I can leave and show my "non-materialistic" ways? I feel like there was little planning done for this game at times, beyond the basic Red-Bulled up 20-something programmer saying "You know what would be cool?" and implementing said coolness.

That's one of the WORST things I hear on a daily basis. "You know what would be cool?" As a designer, I'm actually paid to know what would be cool. I'm not smug, I'm open to suggestion, but I take inspiration from millions of sources all the time and someone who suddenly gets some sort of brilliant inspiration out of the blue knows what would be cool. Meh. Say what you will. It's likely NOT cool.

Anyway, back to Divinity. I am actually enjoying the game that has a general rating of about 6ish out of 10. To me, this says a lot about reviews in general. In the end, even though a reviewer has seen a million games and can be considered "educated" in the subject, it's still just ONE person's perspective. He may hate it because he had a bad day and had to get his angst out on something. He may have just felt more strongly than someone else about a flaw in the title. This is why I LOVE demos. Now a days you get to try a lot of new titles carefree in demo form off of XBOX live or PS Network. It's because of the demo available that I ended up getting Divinity. Sure the ratings were bad, but I felt it was good when I tried it, so I got it.

Thanks for the latenight read. See you tomorrow or monday!


Friday, February 5, 2010

A general clarification...

My reference to business owners being nuts... well, most of you are, in a lovable way. :P I thought it would have been clarified that they weren't "nuts" today as it WASN'T terrible in the morning. It was just the POTENTIAL of being terrible.

So there. Flipper boy.



Snow Day! Great time for gaming.

So I get up this morning to the wonderful surprise of a blizzard. In most cases, this is an annoyance and a hated turn of events for people around these parts because for some reason, business owners are NUTS and demand people still go to work. Well, it wasn't TERRIBLE but a lot of places were closing because of the POTENTIAL for the weather to get worse. Anyway, I ended up going in myself for a couple of hours, only to be sent home again. Great. At least I'll get paid. :P

Snow days are wonderful events for folks who like gaming, as it's a whole full day period where they can enjoy gaming guilt free, as most times you probably could be doing something a little more proactive. Relaxation is wonderful, for which gaming is generally a part of. But the world still turns. Dishes need to be cleaned, laundry needs to be done. It all has to fit in the time outside of work. When work closes, and you still get PAID, you get this time FREE because you wouldn't be cleaning anyway. :)

For me, today, I started with a healthy dose of Divinity II. It's not a bad game, it's a little misdirected at the start, but still worthy of a decent playthrough. (Do not read the IGN review if you ever hope to want to play this) The graphics can be a bit choppy but the fighting is done well enough. I feel very nimble in the game, something that is generally not what I get. Most times I play a tank in RPG's, so I'm slow plodding and lots of death comes from my hands. But this is refreshing. The musical score is actually somewhat catchy, as I currently have the music from the first village quaintly buzzing away in my head. The story is interesting enough.

After a bit of this, I started poking around on the internet and came up with a new PS3 friend. I'm kind of hoping he will FINALLY be someone to play NHL10 with, as I'm generally the only one of my gaming friends remotely interested in sports games... unless there is easy gamerscore to be had.

I sat down again and started my second playthrough of Mass Effect 2, on the insanity difficulty. It's remarkably harder than the casual sittings I put into my games of choice. But, for some reason, it's not bothering me much. Even on a casual setting, you will die multiple times in this game. Anyway, I got the "Power Gamer" achievement for hitting level 30 and started recruiting my team. This brings us to now.

I wanted to mention to some of my readers (you aren't followers yet but you tell me you read!) that there is more to life, especially MY life, than gaming. :) I talk about it a lot here for a couple of reasons.

1. It's like a venting for me. I want to talk about games, but I don't necessarily want to talk about them in a social setting.
2. People who read this stuff tend to be gamers in my experience. I'd love to have a few more followers.
3. I love games and this lets me talk about them during lunches at work when I'm stuck there. :D

I have quite a few other hobbies. I am an avid photographer, and visit a group bi-weekly called "Camera 35". While some meetings can be a bit stale, I find so much of the imagery shown to be very inspiring. I am an illustrator and a bit of a programmer. I like to dabble in electronics like computer building, GPS tracking, Ipodding. I LOVE movies, and would love to find someone who likes to watch them too (my wife can't seem to sit still long enough to get through one unless it has sub-titles...).

Anyway, the point I'm really trying to make is that I know I talk about games a lot, especially here. But that's what this blog is for. Games! Video games in particular. I may start a more brief one for photography as well... but I don't want to stretch too thin. I'm still new to the writing gig and want to develop some better skill at it before I go off willy nilly trying to talk about EVERYTHING. :P

I hope you've enjoyed my blogging thusfar. I've enjoyed it myself and look forward to doing it more in the future.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Games vs. Books... Part Deux

Yesterday I touched on the thoughts of what was more engaging, video games or books. To each, there are both positive and a negative points, so many of which that I could truly never cover in my humble little ramblings. In point form, here is what I mentioned yesterday:

- Using your imagination more
- form a greater bond with the characters
- The environment is limited only by imagination

- Carries you visually farther than any book could, which in some case can be inspirational
- YOU control what happens, you are not just following what someone has written

As with anything, a lot of this depends on the book or game you play. Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed 2, Final Fantasy... these all tend to lean towards giving a play the freedom to do as they like while still steering them on the eventual goal of completing the game. A grand example of where a game elevates itself beyond is in Final Fantasy 7. Aeris is a lovable, feel good character and the game steers you, as the main character Cloud, into an almost romantic relationship. You develop the relationship based on little things you do from time to time. About half way through the game, she is killed dramatically by the main villain of the game, and a scene of true heartbreak follows as you must now let her go and continue the world saving quest you were on. When you play this, you feel the true heartbreak and heart ache of the main character. It is easily one of the most developed and engaging character sequences I've ever experienced, in book or game. If you play Mario, Donkey Kong, any fighting game, etc. require nothing but a knee jerk response to get you from point a to point b, thus truly not being as free and open and imaginative as the previously mentioned. I used to be a big Mortal Kombat player, and I couldn't remember every detail of playing, but I could tell you the button combo for the Scorpion flame head fatality. It's like I zone out when I play that. Less engaged, more autonomic.

Same with a book. Think of a book that you've read that was great. For me, let's say... Vampire of the Mists by Christie Golden. While certainly not literary genius (what vampire book beyond Dracula is?) I was very engaged with the main characters, Strahd, Jander Sunstar. I remember the specific scene in the end as Jander watched the sun come up one last time and died. A very touching scene indeed. I haven't read that book in 10 years. Then I think of some rambling crap book I may have read, like Batman: The Stone King by Alan Grant. I remember that I read the book, I remember Batman was in it. But beyond that, nothing. I read that book 3 months ago.

The point, in the end, that I wish to make is more of a plea for the validity of gaming in general. We're not talking sales dollars. We're talking the level of engagement and the validity of said engagement. There are some that think gaming is just a weak pass time that is really nothing. I personally carry experiences, joy and not, from games to this day and will all my life. How is this not engaging?


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Video Gaming vs Books. Which one is more engaging? Part 1

I was sitting down with my ever beautiful wife the other night and we started a discussion of what was more engaging. A video game, or a book. Each on their own they both are fairly engaging. For a book, if you really get into it, you invest the time to pour over pages of details on the characters, their settings, you learn about them in ways no other media can provide you with. A game, on the other hand, carries you into places visually that no book can do. It presents it's characters in a visual sense, with less dependency on your imagination, but in some games, need your imagination to help the story along. (My ever present favorite, Mass Effect 2, is a great example of this).

Steph has it fully decided that books are more engaging. Being a reader, I would assume she would feel this way. She says she feels a greater connection to the characters she reads about as opposed to the ones she plays. (Granted, she's a Mario player. If he were a real person he'd be in a special needs school. It'sa me... Mario. Sheesh) She feels that where a book allows you to read how someone is feeling, what they are thinking, even right down to how well they breath, then she feels she has that greater connection.

I personally feel that they are both the same, and just present information to the reader or player in different ways. Any game with a very deep story presents the information in a media rich sense. You see how a character reacts, you don't imagine it. You see what they do as you command them to do it. They interact right on screen with their peers, just the same as they would in a book, just you see it visually, instead of in your imagination. You are just as engaged with a game as you are with a book, just the senses used are different.

Part 2 tomorrow when I get a bit more time!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Cheap Ass Gamer and the PS3: Not Friends.

Games on PS3 are expensive!!! Comparative titles that would go for no more than $29.99 on 360 seem to trend towards $39.99 and up on PS3. Dear god.

My wife got her first PS3 trophy last night, in Little Big Planet (grossly overpriced at $49.99 used... we rented it). She put pants on Sack Boy. The game is cute, but we're getting the same feeling from it that our friends got from it. It's cute. It's different. It's... meh. Fun for a day or two, then it gets put away for all of time.

It's funny. THe first game we got for the system was the classic... Final Fantasy VII. Steph has been looking for that pinnacle, JRPG styled game. I figured that she may as well start with the best and go from there. I finished that game so many times.

Yay I have TV! I can now do reviews of some shows and add a little more to my sparse little blog-o-sphere in the world. :)

Back tomorrow!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Failing at Bogging 101, don't write for 2 days. I am now a proud owner of a PS3!

Well, I missed out on writing all weekend. If I had anyone faithfully following (I only had one statistically anyway) chances are they've stopped reading anyway. But, I'll still keep writing, and do better. :)

This weekend I managed to get myself one of those new fangled PS3's... and I gotta say, it's JUST LIKE AN XBOX, just wrapped up in a prettier black case. The games I want to play are on both, they both have an online network, and the controllers, for all intensive purposes, are the same. The blueray would be handy if I had a hhi-def tv, but since I don't, it's really no different. The only benefit I've noticed so far is that there are some nice classic games for download unavailable on XBL, such as Final Fantasy 7.

I've noticed the consistent theme that people who own BOTH systems tend to play their 360's more. Is one better than the other? No. They are the same. They each have snazzy "exclusive" titles, but neither makes it any more worth having one over the other. I think it's just the install base is bigger on 260, hence personal trade networks tend to rule out.

I'm 25 hours in on Mass Effect 2, won't tell any story bits, just wanted to let you know that THE GAME OWNS MY SOUL. It's that good, worth buying a system for, or a PC that can run it. :) Go mad!!!