Friday, March 30, 2007

In the middle of an affair . . .

Sometimes I feel like I'm in the middle of an affair. Not the other woman, but mixed up in it just the same.

Several of my guy gaming friends are married, yet we spend 4-5 hours a night online together playing games. They get on right after work, just like I do. They play until they go to bed, just like I do. So when are they spending time with their wives?

I know I'm not the other woman because they would be playing online whether I was there or not. Their consoles are the "other woman." An addiction they won't ever give up. I'm just a side part of their little affair. Roped in just the same. Like a menage a trois . . . except with a lot more people.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I'm "sticking" with Gears of War

The other night a group of us were together playing Gears of War and we all sent out invites to people on our friends list to max out the room. There's nothing worse then getting a room almost full of friends but with 1 or 2 jerks messing up the game for everyone. I had a friend who had achievements in Gears, but I've never actually seen him in the game. I sent the invite, only to be declined.

Was it because he didn't want to play with me? No. Was it because he was too involved in what he was currently playing? No. Was it because he didn't know how to play video games? No. The guy's a good player. He didn't want to play Gears because he "didn't like it." WHAT?

Apparently he borrowed the game from a friend when it came out, played a few levels on his own, played a few multiplayer maps and just decided . . . eh . . . "I didn't think it was that fun of a game."

Gears is not a perfect game, but it's pretty darn close. Yes, you do tend to get stuck in cover . . . even if you weren't trying to get into cover in the first place. Yes, you can't see who's talking in the multiplayer (unless you tap your left bumper). Yes, you don't get to respawn. Yes, ammo conversation could make or break you. And yes, multiplayer teams are only 4 x 4.

There are glitches in the game, infinite frags and the like, but every game has a glitch or two. And while you can't respawn, you CAN talk to the players on the other team while you watch whoever's left in the match. Bragging (and/or complaining) of spectacular kills is a must. What other games lets you immediately assail your opponents with a verbal assault while your body is blown to smithereens?

Despite it's very minor hang-ups I love Gears. And while I hate the fact that I keep getting booted from ranked matches because I'm a girl (for some reason guys don't like to lose to a girl) I'll still play. For me I'll "stick" with Gears of War. I'll just have to find another game I'll invite this friend to play.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Crash and Burn . . . then reading a book

Okay, what was up with Xbox Live last night? We crashed 3 rooms in about 20 minutes. It's kind of hard to get into a game when every other map the whole system "wonks" out. I eventually gave up and read a book. No wonking out going on there.

And speaking of that. The book I finished up last night was Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. A GREAT book. With a different style of magic the book is not your typical fantasy. "Burning" a metal gives a user special abilities. Of course that metal has to be ingested first. A band of skaa (peasants) thieves try to overthrow an empire that's been in existence for thousands of years. There's just one little problem . . . the empire is led by an immortal god. An ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC read. It's the first book of a trilogy. Much more greatness to come. You should check it out. I'd love to see a movie made from this book. The fighting would surpass anything The Matrix or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon could ever do.

Monday, March 5, 2007

My Xbox 360 paper weight

Unfortunately I have to work today, but my two younger brothers don't. My gamer brother wanted to play Fuzion Fenzy 2 with my married brother but needed another controller. On Saturday I loaned him mine (figuring I had other consoles and games to play over the weekend) so they could hook up today and play FF2 and anything else they had in mind. That meant on Sunday I was staring at a nice big white paper weight. No controller . . . no play. And what game did I want to play more than anything else? Gears of War. I guess I could have gone out and bought another controller but since I play all of my multi-player games on line why would I need another one? A back-up maybe, but they're still $40 a pop at my local Game Stop. Why couldn't Microsoft make a new system that still used the controllers from the old one? Playstation did.

Friday, March 2, 2007

How hard is it to finish a game?

I was sitting around with nothing better to do (obviously I was at work) when I had an epiphany. I own a lot of video games, but I haven't finished very many of them. Okay, I had only finished 3 (Legend of Dragoon, Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance). And I wondered why I hadn't finished more. I sat and stared out into space, pondering this dilemma when I had another epiphany. I'm a video game addict.

I play video games a lot. And I own a lot of video games. But there just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to play them all . . . especially when new ones keep being released. I'd buy a game, play it for several hours, then have to put it aside so I could play the next great game I just bought. When I finally make it back to that first game I'm so lost I don't have a clue what to do next so I just start the game over. I've probably played the first 5-10 hours of ALL my games at least twice. And some of them more than halfway through.

It's great to have a lot of games. I enjoy them all. But I want to enjoy the fact that I've finished them. Not finishing some games meant I couldn't talk to some of my friends because THEY'VE finished the game and they don't want to spoil anything for me. It's annoying when you're not in on the secrets. So I devised a plan:

Pick one game for each console and don't play anything else until you've finished those games.

Since I own several systems (SNES, N64, GameCube, PS, PS2, Xbox, GBA SP, PSP and a PC of course) I figured I could pick several different types of games to play to suit my every changing mood (I am a girl after all). But how was I to "stay on target"? I could enlist my gaming brother. After all, he's the "dealer" that got me hooked on video games.

When I told him of my plan, he liked it, since he's having the same problem as me (with a lot more games to agonize over). He wanted in. We put our heads together and made a list of games that we both own (for the same console). We'd be each other's support system and help network when we got stuck in a game and can't find that damn hidden treasure. ARGH! Since it was my idea, I let him pick the games. He picked: Final Fantasy VII (PS), Summoner (PS2), Star Wars: Jedi Knight II Jedi Outcast (Xbox) and Super Mario Sunshine (GameCube).

I had dabbled in all of them (had 10+ hours in FF7) but I was ready to start over and play them to the end. We started out with a bang, all gung-ho and everything, but that didn't last long for either of us. I found out I have another video game addiction. Xbox Live. There's something about beating another player and knowing their human and not AI (though for some it's hard to tell the difference). I laugh gleefully (some call it a cackle) but I enjoy myself. Especially when they find out they've been beaten by a girl. Then my gaming brother opened the flood gates and got me hooked on something else. Xbox 360.

We both exercise a lot of restraint not buying new console when they first come out. Let other players work out all the bugs and kinks in the new systems, we'll wait for a later release. But my brother couldn't wait anymore. He bought a 360 before Christmas. We met up each week and I had to sit there and drool while he played Gears of War and played around on the dashboard. I couldn't take it anymore. I caved. I bought a 360 in an after Christmas sale. And now I'm hooked. Achievements? I'm all for them. Gamerscore? I'll show you mine if you show me yours. Now it's not just another new game that I want to play, but a whole new system.

It's been 6 months since we started our little pact. Neither one of us have finished a game he picked out. We're getting closer, but at this rate it'll take us 3 years to finish them all. And think of all the games we're NOT playing (or trying not to play) during that time. On second thought, I don't think I want to.