Monday, February 21, 2011

Hook, Line and Sinker

Once again my Xbox 360 is having problems reading game disks. I have to wonder if it's another "RRoD" faulty construction or too much dog hair getting in the machine. With this last one I've been taking precautions with the dog hair. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be working.

On lunch today I decided I really needed to smash some heads in and tried to get my 360 to play something . . . anything. Unfortunately it didn't matter what disk I put in the drive it wasn't going to play it. I haven't been on my 360 in awhile because of this problem and now when I need it, my system fails me.

I was going to just turn everything off and find something else to do for the few minutes I had left. But I was mad . . . and bound and determined to play on my 360. So I pulled up my Arcade games and started Puzzle Quest 2. (The arcade games now seem to be the only thing I can play on this machine any more.)

I've been getting really pissed off with Puzzle Quest 2 because every room I go into has 2-3 enemies that I've got to face just for me to get to the door on the other side of the room. At which point when I go through the door I'll need to battle 3-4 more enemies to get to yet another door. It's getting tedious and boring whereas I found the first one fun and exciting.

I only had time for a couple of battles (enough to get me into the next room) and then I'd have to go back to work. During the last battle when I was even more tired and grumpy with the game and my system then when I started, a miracle happened.

I got an achievement.

I got the OMGHAX for 20pts for matching 8 gems in a row on any battle mode. I've tried for this achievement several times and had given up with ever getting it legitimately. There are several other achievements that I know I'll have to boost or coerce a friend into helping me out so I'm not really expecting to get them. Besides getting an achievement for completing the game I figured I was maxed out on achievements for that game. Then I heard that magical little bleep and the pop up showed on my screen.


Just when I was ready to throw in the towel with Microsoft and Xbox gaming in general I had to go and get an achievement that I've worked hard for but never gotten. Until now. Dangle that carrot in front of my face and there's just enough there that coming back and playing something else now excites me again.

So I did it again. Get so pissed off with Microsoft and their crappy machines and threaten to leave, then get one small reward for "good behavior" and I'm back to wanting to play the games. I fall for this pattern every time. Hook. Line. And Sinker. Will the cycle ever end? Will I find another way to play online with my friends without all the headache and hassle that Microsoft creates? And if not, do I get a new system with Kinect so I'll have something else from Microsoft that will break down?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Poll Results - Are you getting Bulletstorm?

So here are the latest poll results:

Are you getting Bulletstorm?

Yes, it's going to be a great game = 1 vote
Yes, but only for the Gears 3 beta = 0 votes
Maybe, I'm thinking about it = 0 votes
No way = 4 votes

Okay, I admit I forgot to vote in my own poll. But then again I haven't really made up my mind. Which means I probably would have voted for "maybe". Here's my reasoning for you:

I would get it if I thought it would be a great game. It might be a good game but right now my budget is restricted to great games (and old favorites). I played the demo and I wasn't blown away with it being a 'great' game. For that I'll wait and see after it's come out and people have played it awhile. Maybe it will be a great game. Time will tell.

I did play the demo and while I didn't think it bad I just couldn't get the handle of some of the stuff the game expected me to do. You're expected to kill people with great flourishes and intricate moves. The problem for me is that when I see an enemy I think "shoot first, play with the body later". Bulletstorm seems to be the opposite. They want you to play with the body of your enemy before they actually die. Kick them into a hazard. Throw them up in the air. Stomp on them to stun them. And THEN kill them. I don't want to be creative with my kills. I just want to kill. The problem is you get more points if you do it creatively. The same old boring "aim, fire, kill" won't cut it in this game.

Despite all of that I was/am still thinking about getting the game. Why? Because of the Gears of War 3 beta. Now that is one game that I can't wait for. It should be really interesting how the story ends and whether gamers like the new server based online play instead of hosting. But all that good stuff is also a reason why I don't want to get the game.

I don't want to get the game and play so much of the beta that by the time the whole game comes out I'm partially burned out on the game already. What might be new and exciting for some of my friends might be old hat to me. Now where's the fun in that? It would be like going to the store and picking out your Christmas gifts yourself. They still get wrapped up and placed under the tree but you already know what they are. I would prefer to be surprised and as excited as my friends when Gears 3 comes out.

But on the other hand I really want all the bugs and things fixed so that when I do get online things will play smoothly. So someone has to play the beta and test things out. It will be really interesting to see how the online play changes with servers. Will this make it easier for Weasell to play with the rest of us? I certainly hope so. As much as you hate when the someone on the other team gets host we always enjoyed it when we got it. With a server based game play hopefully that will level the playing field for everyone.

Right now, I'm leaning to NOT get the game. Like I said I've got money set aside for other games that I know I will play. With Bulletstorm it's just a maybe. I'm sure I've got several friends that will get the game for the beta and I hope they test the hell out of it for me. As much as I want the best game possible, I want the best game possible when it was meant to be. And that seems to be this fall. I can't wait to relive unless nights of unless fun with my friends like the old days. If that happens than the wait will be worth it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

12 Games in 12 Months

So my friends tease me and give me a hard time because I can't seem to finish games that I start . . . at least not in a reasonable time frame. And although I've decided not to set specific New Year Resolutions for myself (they always lead to disappointment) I couldn't get the idea of "12 games in 12 months" out of my head.

What that idea is, is for me to finish the story lines of 12 games within a 12 month period. That doesn't mean I get all the achievements for those games that have them, but that I actually get to the end credits of the story so I can now talk about it with my friends. By saying "12 games in 12 months" I'm also giving myself a whole year to work on all games. I'm not limiting myself to 1 game a month. If the end of February comes along and I'm not close to finishing a game I don't want to get down on myself.

I got this idea when I finally finished the story in Gears of War 2 in December. I was at the start of Chapter 5 when my stuff was stolen so I had to spend some time retracing my steps before I could get to things I hadn't seen yet. The good news was this allowed me to work on several achievements that I hadn't gotten before. The bad news was by the time I finished the game and wanted to talk about it my friends couldn't remember what exactly had happened when in the story any more.

I plan on finishing games over several consoles and hand-helds. I keep throwing around a list every week or so but I'll let fate and my current mood decide which games I'll work on at the moment.

One game that I know I want to finish is Puzzle Quest 2. I think I'm getting very close too. I hope so any way. I love playing this game but I get bored of the battles rather quickly. After I've won my third battle I just want to play something else. It doesn't help that 3 battles might only get me to the other side of the room and not very far in the story. I've played that game so much that I've dreamed of it at night and heard that little beep that indicates your turn everywhere. I can't wait to finish the game.

Some other games I'm considering are:

Eternal Sonata
Final Fantasy Tactics (for PSP)
Ratchet and Clank
Dark Cloud
Lost Odyssey

Obviously I'm going to need more games and those games listed might not even be ones I try to finish either. It's just a list of the games I'm interested in playing right now. I could throw in the story modes for some of those online shooters I'm always playing. I hear those stories are kind of short. I could throw in a long game like Fallout 3, Blue Dragon or Borderlands and work on it over the entire 12 months.

I guess that really is only 11 months now because I got this idea in January and decided to go for it then. Yes, I know I'm a little behind in posting about it. I just hope I'm not behind in finishing games and have 10 or so to finish once December rolls around. If you have any suggestions for those "must play" games that you think I should play, let me know. I make no promises but if I do finish them we'll have one more thing to talk about.

New Poll - Are you getting Bulletstorm?

Here's my latest poll:

Are you getting Bulletstorm?

Yes, it's going to be a great game
Yes, but only for the Gears of War 3 beta
Maybe, I'm thinking about it
No way!

You have one week to vote (unless I decide to extend the deadline). I'm very interested in how you all vote. And feel free to put more extensive reasonings as to why you voted the way you did the comments. I like comments. No, I really do.

Poll Results - What do you want for Xmas?

Yes, I know it's now February, but better late than never right?

What do you want most for Christmas?

the latest game = 1 vote
any game = 0 votes
a job = 3 votes
world peace = 0
a date with Pengwenn = 2 votes

(Okay, maybe the "date with Pengwenn" can work in February.)

I didn't vote in this poll. I already have a job (although if I had included an option for a better job I would have voted for that). I already budgeted for all the newest games that I was interested in (although I haven't played many of them because they're sequels). I don't know that collectively as humans we would know what to do with world peace (other than immediately go to war over who brought the world peace or how it should be handled). As for 'a date with Pengwenn' I'm alone with myself all the time and frankly I could use a change.

For those of you who voted for date with me did you think you were going to win the lottery or am I more along the lines of a consolation prize? When I think of which one of you votes for this option I wonder if I'm right. I won't "out" you here, just in case I'm wrong but you can always send me a private message and maybe we can work something out. Heaven knows I should probably get out of the house more often . . . and I don't think hockey games with my brother count.

For those of you looking for work I've got a ton of weeds that need to be pulled, mowed down or just napalmed out of existence. I'd be happy to have you come over and take care of them for me. I probably can't pay you in money, but I can pay you in game time. How about 1 hour pulling weeds = 1 hour of game time with any game I own. I figure if you don't have a job you might not have the money to own or play some of the latest games. And once you're here I'm sure I've got other tasks I might need help with. It think it's a win-win situation. I get some of those hideous tasks completed that I hate to do and you get some play time with some great games. Send me a message if you're interested.

Not again

So in an effort to recapture some of that excitement of playing video games I decided to dust off my PS2 and play some old school games. I had good intentions, but things didn't turn out so good in the end.

First I had to find all the cords and equipment I would need to play on my PS2. It's amazing how the Dualshock 2 controller feels so foreign in my hands when it use to feel so comfortable. After I got everything hooked up I put in my first disk.

I decided to start with a great game that I spent more than a hundred hours playing and even more watching dain play as well. That was Final Fantasy X. It's one of the few games that I've finished yet I still go back and play it every now and then. I was hoping this would be one of those times. Unfortunately my PS2 said it couldn't read the disk.

After a few failed attempts I tried to put in another game. This time I picked up Dark Cloud. I was so close to the end the last time I had that game that I'm eager to get there again. It's one of the few games that I don't mind replaying all the earlier stuff to get back to where I was. Thankfully that game worked and I spent a couple of hours fighting my way through the dungeon levels and rebuilding Narrune.

Unfortunately I got a little cocky while battling an enemy and I thought I would defeat them before my weapon broke with still plenty of abs left to repair it, but I somehow miscalculated and my weapon broke and is now lost forever. It was a mighty powerful weapon. Let us bow our heads in silence for the lost of my shiny, strong sword.

And we're back.

After awhile I decided that I wanted to play something else. I played a little Final Fantasy IX but thought I should really be working on Final Fantasy VII since that is the game dain and I are suppose to be playing. I put disk one in for Final Fantasy VII but that game wouldn't load either. At this point on Saturday I turned everything off and went to my parent's house of dinner and to watch the hockey game.

On Sunday I wanted to try my PS2 again. Final Fantasy X still wouldn't work. Final Fantasy IX wouldn't work either. And now Dark Cloud wouldn't load up. I finally got a game to work. That was Muppet's Party Cruise but when it started to load the first screen of the game after I logged in it froze. When I tried to reset the PS2 it wouldn't read the disk again.

While on the phone talking to dain I finally found a game my PS2 would play. Balder's Gate Dark Alliance. I played that for awhile and found that I had to backtrack through a lot of areas that I had already been. Why I was back at the Inn I can't remember. At least the game worked.

The game I really wanted to play was Final Fantasy IX. Actually I really just wanted to play Tetra Master the mini game that you can play with villagers. I pulled a disk out of my case and put it in my machine. Much to my surprise the game loaded up. Unfortunately I had put in disk 3 instead of disk 1. After 4 or 5 failed attempts to get my machine to read the first disk it finally did and I spent a couple of hours fighting my way through an open field and an ice cave before I finally got a village. By then I was too tired to keep playing so I turned everything off for the night.

I had to send my Xbox 360 back three times in one year because it started to fail at reading disks. Now I'm having the same problem with my PS2. It's only a year old and hardly been played at all. And it's been stored in a nice dry dust free environment when not in use. Why is this machine having the same problem as my 360? And most importantly WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME AGAIN?

All I want is a nice quiet evening playing a game with a great story, engaging characters and fun game mechanics. I don't need life-like graphics and nonstop action to make me happy. For someone who's use to the level of realism in current generation consoles it was a shock to go back to the spiky hair, Popeye-like biceps of the characters of FFVII and even FFIX. We've come a long way since then in graphics and power and such. Why can't we have also come a long way in making consoles that actually read the disk that they're suppose to?

It wasn't like I was sticking an Xbox game in my PS2. Those games I tried were meant to played on that system. Maybe it's not the console but the disks themselves. It's possible. It they were my original games I know they would work. I take great care with my game disks. They're the closest I'll probably get to having kids so they get all of my love and attention. Unfortunately when I had to replace all of my games I had to take what I could find on some of them. Not everyone loves their games or takes care of them as much as I do. Either way I miss playing MY games on MY machines. I'm getting deja vu all over again and I don't like it. Please no more 'disk read errors'. Not now. Not again.