Monday, July 21, 2008

Focused on gaming

I tried a bunch of Arcade games this weekend and picked up a few achievements. Some of them seemed so easy (especially the "East 'A'" one in Boom Boom Rocket) that I wonder why I didn't pick them up sooner. I was only a level away from getting the RooGoo and Marble Blast achievement and just a half a level away from getting the Undertow achievement. Why I quit before when I was that close I'll never know. Or course I might not have known I was that close to getting another achievement when I was playing it the last time.

Getting the Boom Boom Rocket achievement was easy and although I didn't get another achievement I did manage to improve my score on several songs. All because of my headset. I have issues with noise and my upstairs and side neighbors. I bought a headset that has big ear pieces for both ears. It's kind of like wearing earmuffs. You plug it into your TV and your controller. And what you hear through the headset is in stereo so it's really easy to hear someone creeping up on you in Gears of War as long as you have the music volume setting turned way down. Using that headset helps to drown out the noise coming from my neighbors. Unfortunately it also drowns ou the sound of my phone ringing too. Oh well.

Because of the stereo sound and the quality of sounds, minus all the distractions, it's helped me focus more on my gaming. I think my friends in Gears of War have noticed a difference. At least now I'm not turning my head every time my chandelier shakes wondering if it's going to come crashing to the ground. Or cringing every time I can hear my neighbors speak from their apartment or when they slam their front door making my walls rattle every time they come and go (and they do that a lot). I have a little piece and quiet for my gaming and I'm making the most of it as my achievements show.

The only downside to the head set is that there's no mute feature for the microphone. If I had to cough and sneeze I've got to unplug the mic from the controller and then plug it back in when I want to speak again. For a slow paced game like Texas Hold 'Em or Hearts it's not bad but in a fast paced game, like Gears of War or Unreal Tournament 3, when even the slightest twitch can mean the difference between life and death while your fingers are still on the controllers, it's not very convenient to "mute" yourself. But the benefits outweigh the negatives so I'll live with the occasional mute/unmute distractions and hope that my friends can live with the occasional cough and sneeze from over my mic.

I may still have issues with how I see the game, but my mind is focused on gaming when I wear that headset. If you haven't looked into getting one for yourself and you think you might need one I highly recommend it. Coming from someone who'd rather play against you while you're distracted, maybe you should only use something like this while I'm on your team.


Zenra Nukenin said...

Is this headset in stereo or surround? If it's actually surround, you may want to give Bioshock another try (if you haven't played with the headset already). That game makes excellent use of surround sound. There were many times (especially in Fort Frolic) when I could figure out where the Splicers were just by listening :)

pengwenn said...

I think it might be surround as sometimes it feels like I only hear someone running up behind me from one side. When I turn that direction there they are.

I need to go back to BioShock and pickup up the achivements I missed the first time through (yes, I know if you play it right you get all the achievements in one go through) so maybe I'll have a good long go at it this weekend.

Zenra Nukenin said...

That's one thing I like about Bioshock: There really isn't a "right" way. I only managed to get all of my Achievements because I do rather well with games that contain unrushed exploration (like the Tomb Raider games). Although, I can't seem to find all the treasure chests or maidens in Conan ;p

To be honest I never expected to get all the Achievements in one play-through. I thought I'd never get the "Historian" without outside help, so when it popped up I was quite surprised.