Sunday, October 20, 2013

Technical Difficulties . . . please stand by

No I haven't fallen off the face of the planet.  I've just been having technical difficulties with my blog of late.  And this time it's not a "carbon based error".

It seems that Blogger only supports the most current version of Internet Explorer and the version just before that.  Which means if you're using IE 8 (which I am on all my computers) you can add format your posts, add pictures and do other stuff you're use to doing.  Luckily I have Google Chrome on my laptop as well as IE8 but I'm not use to using my laptop and and I've been sharing it with a friend so I don't always have access to it when I want.

I really like to type my posts up on my work computer after I've logged out of work for the day.  After staring at a computer screen all day, as soon as I turn the computer off the last thing I'm thinking about is turning another one and getting online.  The last post I typed on my work computer and saved as a draft.  I had to go in and change the formating to make it acceptable to post.  I hope I fixed everything.  I also hate typing on my laptop's keyboard.

The only way I think of to get around this problem is to upgrade my IE or to change my blog.  Since I always seem to have problems when I upgrade anything I'm not all that excited to rush out and do that.

What I have been thinking about a lot lately is moving my blog to WordPress and get my own domain name.  Instead of having the ".blogspot" part in the name it would be only "" (unless someone else has registered that name.  There is a cost involve but I don't think it would be too much to handle.

Except now my account has revert to silver because I don't have the money to comfortably renew my Xbox Live to gold at the moment.  I'm hoping to be able to go back to gold by the middle of November.  If not it might have to wait until Christmas.  It makes shopping for an xmas gift for me easy.

Friday, September 20, 2013

150 points of Zombie killin'

So a long lost friend of mine (I'm looking at you HellWeasel) came back to gaming recently and we got together to play something . . . anything. We settled on Left 4 Dead. You know the first one. The one released in 2008. Yep. That one.

I had only played through the first campaign and thought I should give that game a go. Since I have a tendency to not know where I need to go in that game unless I'm playing with someone who actually knows what they are doing it was nice to have someone actually want to play with me in an old game. We played through all of the missions I hadn't done, or should I say finished, because of those missions looked very familiar. At the end of the night I had earned 150 Gamerpoints some of which were things I had done not related to finishing the mission.

I had to wait until we were done playing before I could look at them to see what I got because there's just so many zombies coming at you that you really do have to fight for your life. And if you're Weasell that means every special infected comes straight for you. I could be standing next to a spitter but they would attack Weasell. Made things a little easier for me but not for him. The good news was I was able to revive him a few times which counts towards another achievement. I figure if I play with him a few more times I'll have that one in the bag.

I'm thinking about trying some multiplayer action in that game (once I can get my account gold again). Anyone up for some head bashing, gut busting, zombie killing, friendly fights? If so just hit me up . . . unless we're on the same team.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I've found Paradise . . .

On Tuesday, as a thank you to our department, our Director took us all out to lunch at Dave and Buster's.  An adult Chuck-E-Cheese complete with bowling alley, billiards and lots of arcade games.  I loved it. 

We had lunch (average food) and then we were off to play games.  We were divided into 2 teams and given a list of 4 games we had to play.  Each team would pick their top score and try to out score the other team.  The team that had the most high scores would win. 

My team won.

Because of me.

I'm a very competitive person.  You say something can't be done and I'll prove to you that it can.  You make a bet and I'll take you up on it.  There was no way I was going to let the other team win even if I would have to get the highest score for all the games.

The first game we tried was Skeeball.  I got a 170, but another person on my team got a 200.  I tried again for a higher score but the game only gave me 8 balls instead of 9.  I went up to the guy at the counter to see if he could do anything about it but all they did was reset the game which meant I lost that last ball.  I had 180 up until then.  Our high scorer tried again and got a 230 on the second time.  The other team only got a 200.

Another game we had to play was Need for Speed Carbon.  My time (and the fastest of my group) was 3:18.  That included one very stupid crash where I ran into the end of a median divider and had to wait for my car to be reset.  The other team came in with a time of 2:48.  They didn't beat me by much.

The next game we played I can't remember the exact name.  Raizing Storm or something.  It's a 1st person shooter.  Oh, you should have seen how big my eyes got when they mentioned that.  Everybody else on the team was excited for me to play but I had someone else go before me so I could watch and figure everything out (especially the timing of the enemy).  They were horrible.  I was the second one to play and I got about 60,000 points before I died.  The other two people on my team played and I don't think any of them got more than 20,000 points, if that.  The last person on my team watched everybody play so he had a really good understanding of the rhythm of the game and where and when enemies would come out.  He played and scored 69,000 points.  (Not to be deterred, after we had finished all of the games we needed to play I went back and played again and got 76,000 that time.  Our scores were already submitted, but take that anyway.)  My team had the highest score for this game as well.  Even if that guy hadn't have beaten my score we still would have had the higher score.

The last game we had to play was Galaga.  I laughed when that was announced.  When everyone asked I told them I had that game.  Granted, I haven't played it in a long time and playing it on a stand up cabinet would be a lot different than playing it on my comfortable couch and TV but the game's the same in any event.  I let everybody else play first while I wandered around and looked at all the other games available.  I played a game like a touch screen slot.  Three rows and columns of fruit spin around like a slot machine and when they stop you're suppose to touch the screen of any three fruit (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) that are the same.  The faster you do it the more tickets you get.  I got a lot of tickers for my team (who then went and traded those in for a lot of sour candy that I don't like).

When my turn finally came for Galaga I swiped my card, sat (awkwardly) on the stool and started the game.  I scored 19,400 points.  I was rusty.  The highest score the other team had was 13,360.  Smoked it.

My team won and we got to pick first out of the prizes my director brought.  They were all the same ($25 gift cards to various places) and the losers got to pick as well . . . just after all of us winners got the good ones.

It was fun and nice to get away from work and have fun with people that are usually crabby and ornery to be around.  We all loosened up and had a good time.  AND I GOT TO PLAY GAMES!!!!  I still have points left on the cards they gave us and I kept it because I will definitely be going back there some day soon. 

Walking through that arcade was like reliving moments of my childhood.  There was a HUGE arcade by where we lived but my family didn't have the money to go often and it was too far to go on my own.  I remember going a couple of times when we could afford it and it was always a magically place to me, made even more so with high infrequency at which I got to go there.  The first cabinet arcade game I every played was Star Wars.  It was just lines on a screen but it was wonderful.  Casino's might have more bells and whistles in their games.  But an arcade with cabinets old and new is paradise to me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Finally . . . and finally again!

I"m a completionist at heart.  I know I've mentioned that before but it needs to be repeated.  If I can pick up every item in a game; I'll look for it.  If it mean exploring every nook and cranny; I'll be there.  If it means getting every achievement in a game; by golly I'll do it.

There have been 2 games that have an achievement in them that has alluded me for many months.  The first game was Battlefield 1942.  When the arcade game came out my friends and I played it a bunch.  I wasn't very good and wasn't enjoying the game, but I still played because I enjoyed the time spent with friends.  There's an achievement for playing 100 matches and my friends seemed to get this one pretty easily.  Remember when I said I was a completionist?  That's where the nagging feeling of not having earned everything I could in the game comes in.  I needed to play a bunch of matches but I didn't know how many.

The problem with playing that game is it's not that fun without my friends.  But they had moved on.  I was left to get this achievement on my own.  So, whenever I couldn't concentrate on other games and I had no one else to play with I would start this game and try to play a couple of matches before calling it a night.  I did this for months.  And then FINALLY I finished a match and I hear that wonderful little beep that told me I had a message . . . or a friend just came online . . . or heaven help me AN ACHIEVEMENT!

I think it was almost 4 years after my previous achievement before I finally got the one for playing 100 matches.  Now I can say I've done everything in that game and I could move one.

And what I decided to move on to was Borderlands.

Maybe the feeling of euphoria at having finally completed a game I decided that tackle an achievement (and a mission) that has dogged me for several months.  The Braaaaaaaaaiiiiiinnnnnnnsss achievement (or whatever it's called).

When I started playing Jacob's Cove DLC in Borderlands I was forewarned about this mission and the achievement that goes with it.  Get head shots.  Collect their brains.  I was doing that throughout the area only to find out that I had to accept the mission first in order for all those brains to count.  But silly me I left that mission to the very end before accepting it and going for the head shots.  With no other missions to do I was left to wander around all those dark and dreary places looking for zombies to kill.  Not very exciting.  And not very fun when I discovered how many levels there were to the mission and how many head shots I had to get.

When the final 250count level was unlocked I couldn't do it any more.  I was tired of the game and I never wanted to see Pandora again.  But . . . energized by completing Battlefield 1942 I put this game back in and started roaming the paths of Jacob's Cove.  Grand Theft Auto has nothing on one pissed off vault hunter looking form 250 brains.

I was able to get a lot of brains in fits and spurts.  When I got to 170ish all of a sudden I couldn't get a head shot of there was a string tied from my bullet to their brains.  And I wiped out everybody in so many areas that it was taking forever for zombies to respawn.  So close and yet so far.

I stuck with it and FINALLY got that last head shot, picked up that last squishy brain and made a beeline to turn the mission in.  I thought it was the most tedious mission (partly because I didn't get it right away) but I could finally say I have completed the Jacob's Cove DLC for Borderlands.

I love playing games.  They are an escape from the drudgery of life and a fertile ground for my imagination.  But when trying achieve things in a game turns into something similar to the drudgery of life it ceases to be fun any more.  Unfortunately for me my Completionist Devil rears his ugly head and says "YOU MUST FINISH THIS!"  And who am I to argue with the only real man in my life.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I have wonderful friends!

Just when I think everything has gone to crap I'm reminded that I have wonderful friends.  Since I had to go "silver" on Xbox Live due to some severe financial constraints (that hopefully will get fixed within the next couple of weeks) I've had 3 friends step up and offer me codes to go "Gold" for a total of 4 months.  That will definitely help and I CAN PLAY ONLINE AGAIN!!!!!!

Their kindness and generosity will not go unnoticed as I have a "thank you" planned for each of them.  It won't be much but it will be heartfelt and hopefully worth it to them.  Stay tuned for more on that later.  Even though my mother doesn't think I can be friends with people I've never met, I'm reminded that it's not their face that makes them a friend . . . but their hearts.  Thank you!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My priorities are messed up

Despite what I'd like to think my priorities are messed up.  Instead of buying all the cool games coming out or renewing my Xbox Live membership, I'm spending money to buy a new water heater for my house, radiator for my car and paying hospital bills for my health.  That just doesn't seem fair.

And just when I need to go online and blow off some steam with what is turning out to be a VERY crappy 2013, my Xbox Live subscription expires and I don't have the money currently to renew it.  So I'm left to sit and brew about my troubles without the endorphin release of blowing some one's head off.  Man, I miss that.

The good news is that I finally got to level 100 in Gears of War 3 and re-uped just before my account went silver.  I'm now a level 36 green.  There was a time when I didn't think that would ever happen but I finally got there and I'm proud of it. 

Hopefully this disruption in my priorities will only be minor and temporary but I have to say 2013 is not treating my kindly so far.  What else could go wrong.  Wait, I don't want to know.  I want to hold on to a little hope that my priorities will gel in the correct (and head-popping) order that they should be.  Until then I guess I'll spend some time on those single player games I've always been meaning to get to.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Call of Pokemon Duty and the quest for 1.0

So I got Call of Duty: Black Ops II for xmas and I've been playing it a lot with some friends.  I've really tried to be aware of my kill/death ratio without it interfering with my game play.  After all, the less I die the more it helps my time.  I was stuck at .65 for the longest time before I really started to focus on what I was doing.  I go through the map much slower and I'm very cautious.  It's a little different that how everyone else seems to play the game.  People are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  So far I've got my kill/death ratio up to .81.  It's getting harder to inch it upwards but I think that's a much more respectable number than what I had before.

While playing Black Ops I've also noticed something.  The player has the chance to design his own emblem that other plays can see on the menu screens and when someone kills you.  Apparently you can also put the emblem on your gun as well.  (I haven't unlocked that yet.)  What I've noticed is that a lot of the emblems being created are Pokemon related (or porn related but that's a whole nother issue). 

Are the players creating the emblems 8 and 9 year old kids playing an M-rated game?  Or is Pokemon to this generation like Star Wars to mine?  I am a Jedi.  I will always be a Jedi.  Are there 20something adults running around with a secret Pikachu in the pocket?  Should I be bothered . . . or maybe disturbed by this?

At least it's better than the other pics I've seen created.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Going Insane (almost) all on my own

I went "Insane" and I did it on my own.  Okay, not exactly but I didn't really get a whole lot of help from my friends either.  Until I begged.

I've been working on playing Gears of War 3 on insane.  I tried the standard campaign but couldn't do it by myself.  So I tried it in Arcade.  I figured it was better to play with strangers than to play alone.  Instead of hosting a public match, I jumped into strangers rooms.  At least that way I knew there was one other person there to help me out.  Unfortunately that meant playing the story out of order (not a big deal since I've already finished it on normal) but also having to deal with idiots.

When it got too much I started hosting my own room and just hoping someone would jump in.  Eventually they would but I had to play a lot of mission over again so I would get credit for 4-player co-op (which I was also trying to work towards). 

But once again I was dealing with idiots.  People who spend all their time running around picking up ammo.  If they're gun is full they'd shoot a few rounds then pick up more ammo.  Of course this meant that when it came time for me to pick up ammo there wasn't any left.  Yeah me.

I also had players follow me around trying to swap weapons.  There's nothing more annoying than to be crouched between cover trying to shoot someone when you're own teammate is standing behind you, not firing at the enemy, and their character keeps saying "swap weapons".  So even though someone was in the room "playing" with me I was basically doing Insane on my own a lot of the time.

When it came to the last mission on Act 5 it was even harder to get anyone to join and those that did didn't seem to know what they were doing.  Once a couple of guys picked up the Hammer of Dawn, but never used it on the Queen when she was down.  Another group stole all the ammo but wouldn't shoot the Queen when the bug was on the tower.  If you don't shoot her, she won't come off.  Another group would hide on the other side of the building when the Queen was in the air shooting her laser.  It wasn't bad until the Theron Guards starting climbing up the building.  Because they were on the other side of the building they couldn't do anything about them.  That left me to battle the Queen, and to dodge her laser AND pick off the locust that came up.

And don't get me started on the guy who came in the room and somehow glitched the game so we couldn't knock the Queen down so we could hammer her.  After fighting for 30 minutes and not getting her to drop I shut the room down.  It's never taken more than 5 minutes before even if I had to do it myself.

I eventually got Genghis to join me in a standard co-cop game.  I picked Insane for difficulty and he picked casual.  He did all the heavy shooting . . . I just tried to stay alive.  The Queen was defeated (rather easily) and I got my insane achievement.  Unfortunately I didn't get the Onyx medal for completing the game on Insane in 4-player co-op.

So I begged my friends for help.

When no one responded I thought I would be doomed to never get it.  So close, yet so far.  But Sand Dog came to my rescue.  He booted up Gears 3 and we started the last mission on Arcade Insane.  We also got lucky.  Two other players joined my room and they actually knew what they were doing.  It didn't take long to finish the queen off and for me to get my 4-player co-op Onyx medal.  Thank you Sand Dog!  I also made a new friend.

I still had to go back and find some missing mission I didn't get 4-player credit for but that didn't take long either.  I would much have preferred to play with friends than the hassle I went through playing with strangers but at least I got it done.  It only took several months and over week just for that last mission but I can cross that off my "to do" list.

And speaking of lists I went through and deleted a bunch of people from my friends list on my Xbox.  I took off people I don't play with (or will probably never play with again) and people who are just down right annoying (I'm looking at you Pogue).  I just didn't want to be reminded of all the people I could be playing with but wasn't. 

There are still people on my friend list for sentimental reasons.  Those people will never be deleted.  And Sand Dog has earned his place on that list. He will always be on my list because he helped me go Insane.