Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Poll: Tell me how I did

Okay, a post to express my frustration on what seems to be the norm in online gaming (glitchers, cheaters, quitters and whiners, oh my!) I seem to have ruffled some feathers of friends. It wasn't my intention. I was just venting. It's the only way I know how. My big "you" paragraph was meant as the general population "you" instead of the specific friend "you" that it might have come across as. So now I have a new poll. Here it is.

In my "Done with Online Gaming" post I....?

kicked an ant hill
whacked a hornet's nest
stuck my foot in my mouth
stepped in shit
all of the above

"Remember, this is for posterity so be honest." -Prince Bride

Monday, August 23, 2010

Done with online gaming

Okay, I think I'm done with online gaming. Yep, you read that right. I'm done with all the host quiting because they're going to lose. I'm done with teammates, and opposing teams, whining about who got host. I'm done with glitches and cheaters as well. Do you want to know what put me over the edge?


Yep, that favorite game that requires you to roll 5 dice and try to make sets or runs depending on what you need on your score card. I'm sure you've all played it in real life at some point. Now it's one of the games you can play in Family Game Night.

I was eating dinner last night and wanted to play something mindless and easy while I got my daily nutritional intact out of the way. What a better time than to play a game of Yahtzee. Now normally I would play single player by myself, but I was feeling adventurous and jumped into an online game. We had three players and the game sets up the turn orders randomly at the start of the game. Our lovely host was player number one. I was player number three.

For most of the game the host was leading the scoring. A couple rounds towards the end I was able to eek a little ahead of the host in overall scoring. On the last roll of the dice the host only had the Yahtzee score blank, but failed to get one so they had to take a zero. As the scores stood then (even without me having my final turn) I won the match. While the second player was taking their turn I got the "host left the match" message and I was back to my lobby. Come on. Really?

You're going to quit a game of Yahtzee because you didn't win? Is winning that important to you that you can't play fair if you don't win? I was fuming by the time I put in my Gears of War 2 disk to play with friends. I asked if we could do an "open mic night" so I could vent my frustrations out on the other team (instead of my teammates). Unfortunately they weren't in the mood until one team decided to be dicks about the last kill. We opened up the mics then but after the match was over we went back into a party.

But even though killing the enemies in Gears helped my mood, listening to teammates whine about the game didn't. I'm tired of hearing about someone's connection being host. At one point someone on my team started to bitch about someone on the other team being host and getting the advantage. I had to tell them I was host, but that didn't seem to matter. The response I got was "then he must be in your f*cking living room". Come on. Really?

Just because everything doesn't go your way in a match doesn't mean it's because someone else on the other team has a host advantage over you. Some times there are people just better than you. Or maybe more focused on the game they you were at that time. Or maybe they have a better game plan with their whole team. Whenever we start to go our own way we lose more rounds than we win. You should know that. And you should also know that the whole team isn't there to support just you. Other people can pick up the grenades. Other people can get the power weapon. And just because they do doesn't mean they're going to cost us the game because they did. I'm tired of all the whining.

I'm tired of all the glitching and cheating too. I've played some matches recently where the other team found a way to hide inside a wall so we couldn't see them but they could see us and shoot us while still being protected themselves. I've also played matches where there was some definite lag switching going on. One moment my gun is using bullets and I'm shooting someone, the next minute they are behind me and my gun isn't using any ammo. Come on. Really? Is that the only way you know how to win?

I'm just tired of it all. There's no fun and joy playing with whiners, glitches, cheaters and quitters. A loss is just a loss. It's a game. Getting one more loss isn't going to prevent you from getting a loan on a new car. Or getting that big promotion you want. A win, also, isn't going to get you money to buy groceries. It isn't going to pay your mortgage or buy you clothes for the new school year. It's just a number. Winning and losing.

The point of playing games is to have fun. Enjoy the story. Marvel at the realistic graphics if you like. But don't be a dick about an obsessive need to win all the time. If there were more games that got people to play together off of a server instead of a host console I'd be more inclined to play those. Or if there has to be a host console could they at least design a host migration tool into the game so if the host does leave the match can go on. Granted that might mean the next host has a lousy connection for everyone else but at least the match still goes on.

Will I play games online tonight? I don't know. Right not; not likely. That's not going to stop some of my friends from begging, pleading and bargaining with me to join them I'm sure. Will I give in to their demands? I hope not. A night or two of single player gaming might be just what I need to make me want to come back and play games online. Otherwise, I just might be done with online gaming for good.

Poll Results - What's more embarrassing?

So here are the poll results. Only two people voted, besides me. How embarrassing is that?

What's more embarrassing?

getting out of a public swimming pool without your swimsuit on = 1 vote
getting beat by a full team of bots in Gears of War = 2 votes

I voted for the pool. Come on people. There's nothing more embarrassing or humiliating than putting your goods on display, unknowingly, for everyone to see. I guess you guys think you're hot stuff and aren't afraid to show the world the way God made you. If that's the case then I would like some visual proof of your confident manliness. Just tell me who voted and I'll send you my email address.

Getting beaten by bots is not embarrassing. They've got the advantage in more ways than one. They don't have to deal with lag issues. They automatically know where you are without having to looking for you. And their aiming has pin-point accuracy even while running and firing blind. If you can beat a bot that's something to celebrate. But getting beat by them isn't something to be ashamed about.

What made it hard, the night in question, was that we had already beaten a team of bots on a different map. For some reason when we played that night we could never seem to get a full team of players on the other side. Sometimes when they were short handed they would stick around. Other times (twice to be exact) the whole team would drop out before the match started.

The first time we beat them easily. The second time we were playing on War Machine. It's a map we haven't played in a very long time. Besides the sniper rifle we couldn't remember what weapons spanned where or when during the match. Instead of working as a well oiled machine we were all over the place. We had no direction and we definitely didn't stick together. It didn't help when the bots started picking us off one by one that all we could do was laugh. If we had put our whole effort into the match (and knew where to go for the good weapons) I'm sure we could have won against them for a second time.

When it was all over two comments were made. 1) "lets never talk about this night again" and 2) "who's going to blog about it first". I guess I win. Although I'm sure there might be some counterpoints raised by my fellow bloggers that were playing that night.

So losing to bots in Gears of War 2 is like losing at the poker table when the cards are stacked against you. The game is stacked against you. It's cheating. And nothing to be ashamed, embarrassed or humiliated about. You try. You get killed. That's life. Now, walking around like a nudist at a public swimming pool without intending to IS something to be embarrassed about . . . unless your body is "cheating" too. And then I'll have to launch and investigation. Prepare to be thoroughly examined.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rock music isn't for everyone

Sometimes it feels like a game is out to get you. Like playing through the Dark Carnival campaign in Left 4 Dead 2 four times before I finally got the achievement after the rock concert. Or Genghis's multiple attempts to fire up a clown only to have the clown be the one to run through the flames and not burn. These moments make you want to put down a game and never play it again.

Then there are other moments, like last night, that make all the frustration worth it. Moments like Sneaka's obsessive cuddling of Gnome Chompski. I think he would have thrown his own children under the bus if it would have saved Gnome. And don't get me started on the bad 'gnome' puns he started to come up with.

But there was one moment that trumped everything else. A moment that left me laughing for a good 10 minutes after the game. So much so that I had to leave my mic on mute and I was afraid I would never breathe again. What happened, you ask? Well, I'll tell ya.

We were on our second or third time through on the rock concert chapter of Dark Carnival. Sneaka was bonding with his gnome and the rest of us were just trying to get out of there alive.

Apparently we weren't the only ones.

When the helicopter finally came down to the bleachers guess who was the first person on board? Not Rochelle. Not Coach. Not Ellis. And definitely not Nick. We all gave ourselves a shot of adrenaline and made a beeline for the safety of the helicopter's skids when as soon as we get there a Tank jumps up into the stands . . . AND JUMPS UP ON THE HELICOPTER SKIDS! Our mode of escape is now blocked by the very worse possible zombie you could find.

While this image was funny in and of itself there were three other things that started my giggle fit. One was the that I was first to the copter and I got to watch the copter tilt and sway as the Tank tried to climb in. For some reason the Tank tried to climb in twice. Each time the copter dipped and swayed with the weight of the Tank. All I could think of was "I'm not getting on that thing" and not because of the Tank would have pummeled me to bits before the copter got out of there. But because I wasn't sure what the weight limit would be on that thing. If you're escaping a horde of zombies the last thing you want to do is get on a copter that may not make it off the ground.

The other thing that made me giggle like a school girl who just got all the Jonas Brothers to autograph her TrapperKeeper was the squeals of disbelief from my friends when they saw their exit blocked by the Tank. The first moment of their "oh sh#t what do we do now" screams were priceless. The next few moments of game play consisted of us running around trying to lure the Tank away from the helicopter without having the enormous horde of the undead overwhelm us mere feet from our rescue.

The last thing that happened that put the whole incident over the edge for me was when Sneaka took his beloved Gnome, still cradled lovingly in his arms, and tried to jump into the helicopter. Apparently the Tank wanted the helicopter all to himself . . . or maybe just Sneaka . . . because he knocked the gnome out of Sneaka's hands and finally the Tank got out of the helicopter. Because of the hordes of zombies now all around us nobody could find where good old Chompski went. I finally found him at the base of the stands and had to fight my way to save him. Sneaka's wails of separation from his beloved were filled with untold anguish and pain. And the whole time I was laughing my ass off.

We eventually all got on the helicopter, including Gnome Chompski, and made it out of there alive. For almost the whole credit roll and for several minutes afterwards in the lobby all I could do was sit there and laugh. It was the funniest moment of my gaming life. I wish there had been some kind of way to record it and save it for posterity. It would have been a hit on YouTube.

After I stopped laughing I took a second look at the upcoming Zombie Armageddon. If you're not infected and can't get out of there alive, but the zombies want to escape, let them have the damn helicopter. They can fly off to whatever human free zone they call paradise and be undead happily ever after. No more car alarms to rile them up anymore. Maybe then us humans can enjoy a full rock concert in peace. Minus the Spitters, Smokers, Jockeys and Tanks.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The gratitude of friendship

While life might not always be Fillet Mignon and bon-bons, sometimes it shows you who your true friends are. I experienced that last week.

To my friend who called . . . repeatedly . . . to check on me when I didn't show up online: You are kind. While it really is okay to take a day off from gaming now and then it's nice to know that I am missed when I am away. I hope what triggered my absence never happens again, but if it does I will warn you next time so you don't worry.

To my friends who jumped into my game uninvited, when I did come back online: Thank you. A simple act of kindness that said "I want to play with you" made a big difference between current feelings of frustration and despair and a new found sense of peace and contentment. It was nice to feel wanted and uplifting to know there will always be people there for me. Even if just online.

To my friend who led an incompetent noob through a rough patch in a game while they received little to no reward for doing all the work: You have my undying gratitude and unwavering friendship. I play games until I get stuck or frustrated. Sometimes that does not take much in a game. And sometimes that means I don't get very far. I've lamented the fact that everyone else seems to finish those games whereas I languish in troublesome areas. You were my knight in shining armor even though I hate to be the weak damsel in distress. Your selfless sacrifice was duly noted and I hope to return the favor sometime.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Poll - What's more embarassing?

So my new poll is simple, really. And here it is. You have one week to vote. Tell your friends to vote too. Thanks.

What's more embarassing?

getting out of a public swimming pool without your swimsuit on

getting beat by a full team of bots in Gears of War

The poll is now open.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Survival Guide for Zombie Armageddon

I've been thinking and I know how humanity is going to end. Zombies. Something will infect the population and most of us are going to turn into flesh eating, feral, undead creatures. Kind of like what some of you already are before your morning coffee. But this time the ugliness would be permanent. The Zombie Armageddon is coming, are you ready? If not, I've compiled some helpful hints to help you make it through the hordes of the undead as they come to devour your brains. (For some of you that would only be a light snack.)

Tip #1:
YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW HOW TO FIRE A GUN. Once the apocalypse is here you'll be an excellent marksman even if you've never picked up a gun before. And if you don't want to use a gun that chainsaw your neighbor has been hiding for years (even though he doesn't have any trees) is the preferred method of fighting zombies. If your neighbor is still alive now might be the time to make friends. If he's a zombie use his own tool to kill him.

Tip #2:
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SURVIVE ON YOUR OWN! Nothing ever good can come out of fighting off zombies all by your self. The preferred method of survival actually consists of a team of four people. Preferably not family. Sorry. If you want to survive with your family they you can only do so with two others. Preferably one you really like and one you can live without because one of them isn't going to make it. Let's up it's the one you can live without.

If you want to ensure your greatest chance of survival then your party of four must consist of the following types of people:

a) The Authority Figure. This could be an ex-soldier, a football coach or maybe a seasoned teacher. They are responsible for keeping the group organized and their preferred method of communication is the pep talk. They also must have a nick-name, like 'Sarge', 'Coach', or 'Teach'. If a suitable nick-name can not be agreed upon then they should be addressed with respect like 'Mr. Smith', etc.

b) The Narcissistic A-hole. While you might very well like to avoid this character at all costs he's vital to the survival of the group. While he will bitch and complain the whole time about the waves of zombie attackers you'll have to fight through to make your escape, he'll fight right along beside you. And while most of his suggestions will be pointless and waste time during those rare planning moments he will make one suggestion that will save your life. Of course that one suggestion will be so far fetched that it couldn't possibly work, but it will save your ass at a critical point. Be on the look out for that suggestion. It always comes right when the guy starts to get tolerable and he realizes he CAN live without hair gel and designer suits if he makes it out of [insert city name] alive. Of course now that his suggestion actually worked to save everyone he's going to be more intolerable than before.

c) The Young Punk. This is the young kid who shows no interest in the world around even if that world starts throwing undead killers at him. He'll be closed off and probably carry around a hand-held gaming system for those "down times". He'll have the quickest reflexes, greatest accuracy and you'll thank your lucky stars the kid learned it all from video games. He'll also be a virgin, but if your team survives intact the next person can take care of that.

d) The Hot Chick. This is the girl that wouldn't mop the floor because she'd probably break a nail but suddenly she's tough as nails and not afraid to get dirty. She's also got to be able to handle three guys all at once. That's not easy if they think she's the last female on the planet. Mr. Narcissistic Man will flirt with her unceasingly to the point of nausea. The Young Punk will have a secret crush on her. And the Authority Figure will look at her like he's own daughter. In the darkest hour when all hope is lost she might grant one "death wish" from the Young Punk and de-virginize him, but if she ever sleeps with the self-obsessed pretty boy it will be the biggest mistake of her life.

Tip #3:
GUN SHOPS WILL ALWAYS BE FULLY STOCKED when you're on the move. It doesn't matter where you go there will be a gun shop and it will be the one place that hasn't been looted yet. Why? Maybe because everybody around has been turned into zombies. If that's the case grab everything you can carry and run like hell to get out of there. That will be the one place the zombies will be waiting for you.

Tip #4:
TAKE DOWN THE BIGGER ZOMBIES FIRST. Don't be fooled by those scrawny ones that run up to you really fast and barely have the strength to attack you. You can survive those guys for a minute or two while you concentrate your fire on those hugely deformed ones that lumber at you slowly. You'll know they're around because you can feel the ground shake or there will be a strange music/squeal like sound just before they make their appearance. Those guys can do damage so take them out as quickly as possible.

Tip #5:
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SAFE HOUSE! It doesn't matter how far you run from a populated city or if you eliminated all opposition in a building. If you close that door and stay there to rest, they will find you. But that doesn't mean you have to constantly move all the time. You're only human (so far anyway) so you'll need to get some sleep and heal yourself. Do it in teams. Two people heal and rest while the other two stand guard. When you get to the next 'safe house' let the other pair rest while you stand guard. It's not a glamorous job but somebody's got to do it if you want to get out of there alive.

Tip #6:
THE GOVERNEMENT IS YOUR ONLY CHOICE FOR SURVIVAL. If you do manage to get out of there alive it will, no doubt, mean you're left to live on a government controlled plot of land somewhere. Government rules. Government food. And government healthcare. Yes, life sucks . . . but at least you're alive.

Tip #7:
GET YOURSELF A GUN. If you are unable to abide by these tips then the best thing to do once the zombies start taking over is to put a gun to your head and blow your brains out. You do not want to be one of the walking dead. It wrecks havoc on your complexion.

There you have it. You have now all been warned about the end of days and instructed on how to survive the zombie apocalypse that is surely coming. I've been practicing for it now on my Xbox 360 to keep my skills honed just nicely enough to survive. Does anyone want to be in my group of four? If, in the event that you become a zombie I'll do a later post about tips for you. But seriously, do you think zombies are on the internet?

Poll Results - Play as a female character?

So, I was playing online when one of my friends got a little riled up when he didn't get to play as the female character and that got me thinking. Which created this poll. Which created these scientifically sound polling numbers.

Do you play as a female character?

Yes, I am a girl in real life = 1 vote
Yes, I love the eye candy = 2 votes
No, girls are sissies = 0 votes
No, I need to show how manly I am = 3 votes

For starters let me say that I am incredibly relieved to see that no one voted for the "sissy" option. You can all remain on my friend's list.

I guess it's pretty obvious which option I picked. I am a girl in real life after all. But I don't go out of my way to pick a girl to play just because I am one. If I can only choose once (meaning the sex of your character has no bearing on the game play) than I pick whichever character is prettier. Yes, I know, how shallow of me. But if I'm going to be looking at that character for 20-50 hours of gameplay (or more) I want something aesthetically pleasuring to my sense of style and taste. Sometimes that would be a cute little female character in Fable II or sometimes it might be a male soldier in Borderlands. But then again if the characters have specific attributes (and I'm not talking about those that made Laura Croft famous) that are more suited to my gameplay, than I would pick that character.

So Borderlands is a combination of a nice, strong looking gentleman with the strengths and characteristics of how I like to play a game (at least the first time through). It also didn't hurt that his name was Roland which is the name of my favorite character from The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. But that's besides the point. Once/If I ever finish Borderlands with my soldier Roland I'll go back and play it through with a different class. Maybe that time I'll pick Lilith.

But what started all of this was a night playing Zombie Apocalypse and Beamer wanted to play as the chick. I'm pretty sure I picked the chick, but I'm use to that in multiplayer games. Whenever dain and I would play together (Balder's Gate, Champions of Norrath to name a couple) he would always pick a male character and I would always pick a female character so we could tell the difference. I think that's mostly because we almost always picked the same class of character. When we played Hunter: The Reckoning I would pick the girl because after he picked his character the girl was the best choice of who was left.

Now, if it didn't matter whether you picked a male or female character and the game was in a first person point of view so you couldn't see your character on the scene, would those that voted for the eye candy still do so? Are they trying to let their inner divas out? And what if the story/achievements were different depending on the sex of your character? Would you play as male first then female second, or vice versa? And if you're so happy to play as a female character why aren't you happy to have a female avatar? Come on, I dare ya to do it.

And for those that need to show how manly they are, there is an easier way to prove that. Just send me a picture to . . . um . . . prove your manliness and I will happy to vouch for you. I'll be thorough and critical, but I'm sure you'll all . . . measure up just nicely. ;-)