Sunday, December 30, 2007

Xbox Live unfaithful

If you have an Xbox 360 and have been trying to get connected to Xbox Live over the last couple of weeks you've probably noticed a problem. If you haven't been trying to connect to Xbox Live you still might have noticed a problem with all the loud voices complaining over the service they've been getting . . . or not getting . . . form Xbox Live. It's gotten so bad that I've even heard people talk about a class action lawsuit against Microsoft. It makes sense in a way. We've paid for a service that Microsoft promised but we're not getting so shouldn't we be compensated for that loss of service? And what about the pain and suffering associated with that failure to serve? And believe me there is pain and suffering along with heartaches, frustration and despair when you can't get connected to the Live service. But are we ready to take everything that far? A law suit? Microsoft and Xbox Live have been unfaithful to us but once this is all said and done and everyone is playing again, how many of us are going to become unfaithful to Xbox Live and Microsoft? It should be interesting to see.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

To Prestige or not to Prestige?

I know I'm not going to be faced with this problem for awhile, but I've been thinking. I have a friend that is going through the prestige and he's been getting grief for what level he's on with his prestige. I think it's cool. It shows real dedication and commitment to do that. Just when get to the good weapons they're all taken away and you have to start from scratch like a noobie all over again.

Last night we played with someone who is on a higher level of prestige than even my friend. We were all dully impressed, but joked around that if Kralon's been playing it since the day it came out than that guy's been playing it since two weeks before it came out.

So I've been wondering. Should I do it? I still haven't had the chance to bring up a helicopter. And I'm either very lucky or playing a bunch of terrible people if my kills out number my deaths. I don't think I'm that bad of a player but there are some things that makes this game more difficult for me than other shooter games. But that's a post for another time.

Right now I'm only at level 37 (Lt. Colonel). And since I've been playing this game for over a month and that it takes 2-3 nights worth of play time now for me to go up one level I won't be officially faced with the prestige question for awhile. By that time all of my friends will have finished going through all their prestige levels and will be bored of the game. Then while I'm stuck again at level 18 or whatever they'll be playing another game.

Getting to the highest rank should come with a sigh of relief not a nagging question of should I prestige or should I not prestige. But then again some people will say that getting to level 55 the first time is NOT the highest level you can achieve. For me? Well, we'll just have to see what kind of mood I'm in when I get there.

Xbox Live Bio

If you have an Xbox 360 feel free to check out my Bio page on your console. I wrote a funny little poem (those / marks are line breaks) based on the 'Twas the Night Before Christmas poem for all my gaming friends. I'm going to have to copy it down and post it here for all my non Xbox 360 friends to read as well. I could have made it much longer but I wasn't sure how much space I had to work with in the Bio section. Maybe when I post it here I'll expand it a little bit.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Here comes the rain again

Where I live a 20% chance of rain means it's going to be a dry day. Of course, I've seen weathermen live on the television say that there's no chance of rain and I can look out my window and see a downpour. And no it's not the sprinklers. And when the weatherman says it's going to rain late at night, he means while you're sleeping and can't enjoy the patter of rain on your windows.

So when I drove home from work last night and saw the red under glow on the clouds as the sun set I was hopeful, but not expecting anything. When I listened to the weather report of only a "20% chance of rain scattered throughout the valley overnight" I wasn't expecting much. I was surprised to see the roads and sidewalks wet this morning from seemed to be a good size downpour and I realized something. I wanted to play BioShock.

At first this confused me, but then it all started to make sense. I played a terrible night last night in Call of Duty 4. I was worthless and I couldn't concentrate. And I couldn't figure out why. It just didn't feel like the game I should be playing, but I didn't know what else I should have been playing instead.

The first time I played BioShock another storm was moving into the valley. A much bigger and harder hitting one than the one we got last night. I put BioShock in and started the game up. I thought the underwater atmosphere of the game was fitting for the stormy atmosphere I was currently in the middle of. Unfortunately, what I didn't know was that this (along with playing with all the lights out) was going to make the whole game experience that much more creepy. And I admit it. I was scared.

So scared that I stopped playing because I didn't want to have nightmares. Which is a little ironic because I remembered giving my friend Dennis a hard time when he said he had to quit playing one night because he didn't want to have nightmares. From a game? You've got to be kidding. He wasn't and now I knew.

So when the storm moved in last night I guess instead of playing Call of Duty 4 what I subconsciously wanted to play was BioShock. The rain clouds are still around and I had a few times when I actually had to use my windshield washers on the morning commute. How long those clouds stick around with their ominous feel to them, I don't know. I just know that right now all I want to do is go home and play BioShock even if it will scare the pants off of me. Hopefully I won't only play the game when it's raining or dark and moody outside. If that was the case it's going to take me a long time before I ever finish it.

Until then every time it gets cloudy not only will I have lyrics to the Eurythmics's song running through my head but I'll also have a desire to play BioShock. "Here comes the rain again...."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Poll - Game of the Year

As you've noticed I put a poll up on my blog. Feel free to vote for whatever shows up there. When you're done voting leave a comment here about why you selected what you did. I'll leave this one up until the end of the year. I haven't decided on if I'll do these biweekly or once a month. A month just seems too long and I might get bored of seeing something up there that long. But on the other hand 2 weeks seems too short because I know some friends who check up on things here but since I don't update regularly they don't check in that often. I'll have to work on that. Once the poll is closed I'll post the results and tell you what I voted for and why.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My life is difficult enough

Okay when I play a game for the first time I always play it on the lowest difficulty setting possible. If I like the game I'll go back and pick a harder setting for the next play through. It takes me a while to get into the flow and feel of a game and I could very easily put it down if it got to hard. I've got tons of other games I could be playing that I enjoy instead of one that's annoying the crap out of me.

Even on the lowest setting of Mass Effect when I got to the first door I had to open and couldn't complete the little mini game fast enough and realized I didn't have enough gel to open the door, I quit. But not wanting to replay a bunch of the game from my last save (since I couldn't remember when that was) I saved it before quitting. Which meant that when I loaded it up again I'd be back facing the same problem.

When I explained my situation with dain he told me to pull the game out and he'd help me through it. Luckily when I pulled up my save files there was an autosave prior to me messing up the door (and not that far back) that we loaded up. It took me a couple of attempts (and a couple of reloads) but I finally managed to get through the door with the minigame.

And don't get me started on Gears of War. I was planning on playing the "Easy" level all on my own but Evil Ric wanted to play some co-op and we were both towards the end of the game so we played through. I have to reluctantly admit that I needed the help because I don't think I would have been able to do it all on my own in the first place. And now that I'm trying to go through the game on the next level up ("Hard") I'm having a hard time. I can't get through to the first boss because I get overwhelmed with locust and I don't have enough ammo to kill them all. Not to mention the fact that I'm a terrible shot.

So I feel like a chump.

I'm a chump for playing on the lowest difficulty level when all my friends are blasting away at the hardcore/insane levels of games. I'm a chump for getting stuck at a very easy point in the game. I'm a chump for not being able to hack it when the difficulty gets turned up.

I thought I was a good player. Not great certainly, but good. I was wrong. I'm just a chump struggling through games on easy. My life is difficult enough that I guess I don't like it when my games are as well.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Retaliation is such a beautiful thing

I think I prefer shooters that give you the ability to respawn after you die. Yes, I know it's not a realistic thing but come on, is Halo 3 THAT realistic to begin with? If you respawn you get to retaliate and that can be a beautiful thing.

I always hate getting killed within in the first 30 seconds in Rainbow 6: Vegas only to sit there and watch all my other team members go on to finish the map. (Okay, not all my team members finish the map alive but one or two of them will . . . usually.) At least with Gears of War I lasted longer. Once I'm dead I usually get up, fix something to eat, go to the bathroom or do whatever as long as I'm back by the time the match ends. Don't get me wrong and think that I don't like R6V. Cause I do. It's just a different style of game play then what I typically like.

I like being able to come back and kill someone who just killed me. Playing Battlefront I knew where everything was. And since where you spawned was your choice I could figure out where I needed to be to get my revenge. With Call of Duty 4 where you respawn is random and for me that makes getting revenge so much harder.

I try to pay attention of where the other team is attacking from and how our team is doing against them. If they're trying to gain access to the three story house on Crash but my team keeps holding them off then I'm pretty sure they'll give up eventually and move on to another area. (Some teams don't appear to be that bright at times.) But I'm not all that familiar with the maps in the game so every time I spawn it takes me a moment or two to get my barrings and figure out which direction I should be headed in.

It doesn't help that every two story building looks like every other two story building on all the maps and my team doesn't have names for things. The names don't have to be descriptive either. Just something we can all remember. If we see a house that is more rubble than house we could call it "Pogue's house" then every one would know what we're talking about. Or the house Sand Dog calls the "the shit house" because it doesn't have a roof could just be called "Sand Dog's house" or just "the dog house". Or the house on the map Backlot (I think) that has some internal stairs that go up to a closed door so they're worthless could be the "hell house" because you can't get to heaven on those stairs. Stupid idea isn't it.

Anyway, Call of Duty 4 has an achievement just for retaliation. The "Cruelty" challenge is to "Kill an enemy, pick up his weapon, and kill the enemy again but with his own weapon". Sounds good to me (even though I haven't unlocked the challenge yet). I don't know if anyone on my friends list has completed that challenge yet, I'll have to ask the next time we play but I think it's a cool challenge. I also think it will be a long time before I get the opportunity to complete it.

There's a patch coming out for the game where the developers said they were added 9 new spawn points to every map. That's great and all but wouldn't it be better if we could pick our respawn points? Maybe divide the maps into zones and have a couple of respawn points in the zone. You could pick the zone but the respawn point you show up at could still be random. After all, retaliation is such a beautiful thing I just want to put myself in a position to get some.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Games I own, but haven't played

Until someone decides to pay me for doing nothing so I can stay home and play video games all day and not have to go to work, I think I'll always own some games that I've never played.

I'm not just talking about sequels I haven't played because I haven't finished playing the original, but other games. Games like Tomb Raider: Legend, Mass Effect and Enchanted Arms for Xbox 360; Doom 3, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy and Stranger's Wrath for Xbox; Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters and Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth for PSP; Deux Ex: The Conspiracy, Half-Life and Onimusha for PS2; Chrono Trigger, Dragon Warrior VII, Grandia and Medal of Honor: Underground for PS. I have dabbled a little bit in all my Game Cube games but I think that's only because I don't have that many to begin with.

I made the mistake of admitting to some friends that I owned Mass Effect but haven't played it yet and boy did they rip me up and down for that. Okay, I get it and I'm sorry. That game is going to take some time to play instead of 20-30 minutes here and there. Right now that seems to be all the attention span I can handle for any one game. And then there are my friends who keep sending me invites to Call of Duty 4. I suck at the game. My deaths are 2x or 3x my kills, but I still enjoy playing with my friends and finally figuring some of the maps out.

So someday I need to just sit down and pick a game or two and start playing it. You would think the weekends would be perfect for that, but they're not. There's laundry to do, bathrooms to clean and dishes to wash. It's just as much work sometimes at home as it is in the office.

Eventually I will play those games and they can go from "owned, but not played" to "owned, but not finished". That's not much better but it's the best I can do.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I must have gremlins

Okay, I've got to have gremlins or evil sprites or something that is messing with my internet connection. I tried to get on my PC last night to do some surfing and things started out okay but they didn't last that way for long.

In the middle of downloading a video (and no it wasn't a porn video but a news video from a local tv station) I got a little pop up message saying one of my "cables has become disconnected, please reconnect the cable to continue." What? I was just sitting there minding my own business not touching a thing and my computer is telling me one of my cable was disconnected? This has got to be related to my connection issues when I'm on Xbox Live.

The problem got so frustrating that I had an ISP tech out to test everything. Modem? Good. Wall outlet? Good. I rewired by connection so it wasn't running through my surge protector and that seemed to fix things. At least for a day or two.

Things started acting up and I figured I just wouldn't be able to play certain games from my place. No whatever is going on is effecting my computer. I guess I need to test each cable and cord and see if I've got a bad one in the bunch. But do you know how many cables I've got back there? It seems hundreds. And if they all test out okay then I know I've got gremlins.

Monday, December 3, 2007

My testosterone fueled friends list

Yes, I'm a girl and I have other girls on my friends list, but 95% of the people on my friends list are guys. And lately you can really tell as their testosterone levels are going through the roof.

It didn't use to be that way. Back in the Star Wars Battlefront days competition was friendly and cooperative. You played as a team; win or lose. Every now and then you might go off on your own to extract some revenge for a particularly horrifying kill from someone on the other side, but once you took their head off all was right again in that Galaxy far, far away.

Then Gears of War came around. The teams were smaller and there was no respawning. How you preformed as a team really mattered. You'd talk and coordinate your attacks making sure each weapon point was covered if it couldn't be picked up before the other team got there. But when you died you could talk to anyone else who dies. This led to some good ribbing about a player's skills with the chainsaw when faced with a grenade tagger. There was pride . . . and bragging rights to how you killed someone. And the testosterone levels went up.

Then came Rainbow 6: Vegas. A new style of game play for my rag-tag group of friends. Stealth and sneakery were much more highly valued then shear fire power. If you could snipe someone's head off from the other end of the map you'd gloat and rub it in when the map was over. There was status to be had if you survived a Terrorist Hunt to the very end. And everyone knew they got their experience points because of you. So the testosterone levels went up again.

Now it's Call of Duty 4. It's Battlefront, Gears and Vegas all rolled into one. You have to work as a team to out score your opponent. You have to cover all the hiding places for those snipers that are likely to take your head off before you can figure out where they're at. Getting to prime shooting spots have never been as hard as in other games. So yes, there's a lot of trash talking, name calling, chest thumping, fist pumping action going on before, during and after matches. And don't get me started on what happens when air strikes and helicopters get involved in the game.

Never have I seen my group of mild mannered guys get so heated and worked up for any other game. They'll throw more insults about your mama around than the candy that gets passed out on Halloween. Or how your sister gets passed around more times than a fruit cake at Christmas. Sometimes it funny to just sit back and listen to the banter that gets increasingly louder as the new maps load up. Once that count down starts at the beginning it's game on. And sometimes when the insult "you play like a girl" gets thrown about my guys will get all quiet and ask if I'm going to take that from them. It never fails to take the other team by surprise when they find out they've been playing against a girl this whole time.

But most of the time I just want to play a friendly game. I'm not like my friend Kralon who's on his 4th or 5th level of prestige and knows the game backwards and forwards. But I still like to play and get in the heat of the action. It's all in good fun, right? But sometimes the fun is in short supply for me when my team mates turn into grunting apes, squealing and jumping up and down behind the bars waiting to be let out. But what else can you expect from my testosterone fueled friends list.