Hey Harvey!

Posted on Feb 10th 2011 at 07:14:35 AM by (slackur)
Posted under house, general, home, crib, pad, room o doom, time sink

Although Adam and I (hi Adam!) have kept the podcast going, I've not written on the site lately because, as the tag mentions, we got a new HOUSE!  (er, 'we' as in 'family.'  I don't live with Adam.  Nice guy and all, but if we combined our collection together, the ensuing black hole would likely pull all remaining game related items into our abode, and that would not only suck for every other collector, but I just don't have the shelving for that.) 

Still some things that could happen in the meantime (as the deal on the last house we were shooting for proved) but everything has been very smooth sailing so far, praise God.  Inspection passed with flying colors, and we're setting up the mortgage the same as the last one that we were approved for, so everything is set so far.  We should be closing in April, and then construction on my final, ultimate, dream room-o-doom (more like entire finished basement...o-doom) will commence. 

Before I take down my current Room-o-Doom v.3.2, I'll probably snap some pics just to show how ridiculous it looks to house 6K+ games in a relatively small living area.

Anyway, if you're the type, please pray this shindig all goes as planned, or I may just have to sell it all off and take up a less space-intensive hobby.  Like, say, aircraft carrier collecting.

Posted on Jul 25th 2010 at 01:11:24 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Limbo, general, gaming, value, 360

It has been compared favorably and otherwise to everything from Braid to Ico.  In truth, Limbo is a sum of several familiar gameplay components, wrapped in a dark, morbid, and mysteriously surreal narrative.  What it is not, is for the faint of heart.  Or wallet.


Gameplay consists of platforming, with only a jump and a contextual interaction button adding to the standard left and right movement.  The sensitivity of the left analog stick determines walking, running, or creeping along, and that's it. No ducking, looking around, or direct combat.  This streamline approach, rather than confining the experience, focuses the player on the two biggest features of Limbo:  the environmental puzzles and the atmosphere.  Oh, the atmosphere.

Limbo's palette is black, white, and grays, and nothing else.  Instead of using this refined spectrum to construct high resolution and detail, the designers use the opposite extreme to grand effect.  The visual filters and muted shades paint a dreamlike visual experience that is unique and immersing.  Background and foregrounds are at a constant haze.  Environments feature sparse lines and sharp angles that just barely convey a sense of open woods, labyrinthian underground tunnels, and complex industrial areas.  Indeed, the world of Limbo only roughly sketches its home, then hands the pencil to the player's mind to draw the rest of the details.  Where this could be easily viewed as pretentious or even lazy on the developer's part, the design is definitely purposeful, as the rest of the tools are clearly in the iron grasp of talent.

The animation is top notch, with subtle particle effects and little details emphasizing every action.  Many clues are given for gameplay as well as narrative in the smallest of touches.  The audio wisely follows the consistency of the visual design; sparse, light overtones occasionally punctuated by dramatic flair, and effects that will make the player much more squeamish than the persistent visual violence.  I began playing with two friends watching, but before the hour mark I was alone.  This brings me to an important point:

Limbo's content is not for everyone.

There is implied murder, torture, gore, drowning, dismemberment, and very dark themes.  Without giving away spoilers, some actions will likely stun you in their graphic nature.  This is not Mario.  It is not Braid.  It is a game designed around a certain theme, and that theme is played out fully.  In the same manner that South Park may appear to target a young audience but is designed for adults, the same could be said for Limbo.   

Though I personally feel games should always be based on their own merit, and there are flavorful and unique elements to the experience that is Limbo, everyone will compare titles.  As mentioned before, Limbo imbues a desolate and lonely aura likened to the PS2 classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, comparative indie vibes to Braid (also an 'artsy' title criticized as derivative and overpriced), along with gameplay similarities to PC/PSX's Heart of Darkness.

And if the biggest sell for Limbo is the original atmosphere (and it most certainly is), the other is gameplay.  Physics based puzzles and platforming challenges make up the bulk of the experience, with exploration and attentive observation yielding literal eggs for completion and achievements.  A chapter select allows for easy access, and the game respawns the character only moments before each mistake, again putting the emphasis on puzzle solving and atmosphere.  Some of the timing elements of the game are, true to the genre, mostly trial and error, and the designers were wise to avoid any life count or continuing limitations, allowing the player to simply keep at it until done.

Which brings out Limbo's only real 'fault' making the rounds of the critic circles at large.  At fifteen bucks, is a game that can be completed in only a few hours worth such a premium?  Limbo would certainly not survive the current expectations of boxed retail, and as a Live arcade download only title it is expected to compete with cheaper games containing more longevity.  The almighty Castle Crashers, Braid, and even Ikaruga have fielded the same complaints, and review scores are bashed in light of perceived value.

I intend to write an article on the perception of entertainment value later.  As for now, it comes down to this:

Limbo is original.  Limbo is exceptionally well made.  Limbo is, for a certain audience, wonderful.  Limbo is fairly short, even abrupt by today's gaming standards.  If you are interested, play the demo.  It will tell you all you want to know: do I want more of this?  Will the experience be worth the money to me, individually?  Will I feel at a loss for paying this much for a few hours?

I know I, personally, have no regrets about purchasing Limbo.  Indeed, I consider it a gaming experience to rival my top ten.  But if you play the demo and are still not sure, Limbo probably is not for you, fifteen bucks or otherwise.

As an end note, I feel that the narrative played out in Limbo is terrifically realized, despite forum debates passed to and fro over the subjective nature of the story and its details.  I thought it was rather clear in its intentions, and if it is not painfully obvious by now, I also feel it was a masterfully well done experience.  If you are curious about my thoughts on the particulars of the story, feel free to PM me: I don't want to ruin or cheapen the experience for the curious by posting said thoughts in a forum. 

Posted on Jul 14th 2010 at 06:40:40 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Small Worlds, General, gaming

I won't yet expound upon my views on the 'Video Games as Art' topic in full just yet.  It is 2:15 a.m. and I need some sleep.

What I will proselytize is a free, twenty minute gaming experience I can honestly and wholeheartedly recommend to anyone:

(ALERT!!  Turn UP the sound on your computer!! The music tells as much of the narrative as the graphics.)



Go there.  Play.  Yeah.


My thoughts:

While the author has mentioned his desire to leave certain aspects of the experience open to interpretation, a brief glimpse across a few forums on the game highlight a common public construction of narrative consistent with my own.  I don't wish to divulge further for fear of hampering the experience and direction of anyone else.

What I am most impressed with in this game is the delivery;  the purposefully simple style and structure of the interactivity.  Combined with deliberate musical cues and accentuation, a story forms out of the most basic of game elements and ends with a (likely) unexpected meditation.  There is a holistic series of events here, and it may only come together after another play-through or two, picking up the visual and audio clues that were originally overlooked.

Of course, you might just whizz through it and apathetically wonder what I'm carrying on about.

You monster.    ;P

Posted on Jul 13th 2010 at 04:38:42 AM by (slackur)
Posted under General, Writing, Resonance of Fate, stupid combat systems

My sporadic blog entries have been indicative of my life's events as of late.  Where I originally began writing again after a several year sojourn of busy fatherhood craziness in order to pick up the practice and train my atrophied creative skills, the craziness of fatherhood doesn't slow down.

Now I've come to stake my claim, to recommit to one of the few skills I believe I have the ability to develop beyond an acceptable, average level.  It is a goal of mine, starting this day, to write at least a little every day, and this blog is to be one of the outlets by which I hold myself accountable for persistent development. 

I debated this for far too long, surmising that this particular digital homestead has a pointed place and purpose, and many of the things floating about my inner cranium wishing to depart are not always (gasp!) directly video game related. 

But as of yet, I am under no specific obligation as to the nature of the content I post here, implied as it may be to fall under the gaming umbrella.  Should I write an op-ed piece, an article on some gaming trivia, anything within the expected spectrum this site caters to, it will (hopefully) automatically shuffle into place like a prepared tetramino.  But at the moment, this is one of the few regular haunts I visit regularly that I can use to return to writing as an outlet, as a developing skill-set, and perhaps even have a bit of fair criticism for my own betterment.

I have far too many stalled novels, unfinished short stories, and even some crummy poetry that seem adamantly unwilling to write themselves.  Should I ever wish to breathe life into them, I need to stop whining that my life is too busy and stressed, that I don't have the energy and resilience, and that the only blog I am writing should really be video game related because of its location.

On that note...

Resonance of Fate greatly appealed to me in a variety of ways.  It has a bizarre East-meets-West art style.  Mostly impressive pedigree in Tri-Ace.  Steampunk setting (HUGE plus for me.)  Good, moody soundtrack.  Gunplay-based realtime combat as opposed to traditional melee.  All things considered, I was more interested in this than Final Fantasy XIII, a series in which I own every entry.

Then I played it.

I consider myself a guy who can understand fairly complex systems within the realm of gaming.  I've GM/DM'd pen and paper games, wrote my own combat systems, played way too much Final Fantasy Tactics/Ogre Battle, and even coded a few simple computer games.
I don't think I've ever stopped playing a role-playing game solely because of a convoluted combat system.  I usually think of it as a fun type of challenge.  Even Knights in the Knightmare appealed to me, in an esoteric what-the-...-O.K.-sure-we'll-go-with-that kind of way. 

But in Resonance of Fate, when I had to keep replaying simple battles, even the tutorials, to try to understand what was expected of me, and still not really getting the idea, a mental warning flag popped up Windows 95 style.

Its not that combat in Resonance of Fate is grinding hard, like an old Phantasy Star.  Its not multi-layered hit-and-miss hard, like a Shin Megami Tensei.  Its not even endurance hard, like some bosses in a latter era Final Fantasy.  No, this is something different.

In an attempt to bring a fresh feel to every battle, even against lower class enemies, the combat system requires:

juggling the movement and turns of three separate characters in real time,

two different types of damage that have to be stacked in correct order (plus magic),

an annoyingly and needlessly complex overdriving attack system that requires the characters to always walk between each other on  their turn without firing,

turns that are lost if taken incorrectly,

Running around the combat area to retrieve pieces of your own battle gauge,

a day/night cycle,

correct application of range and capability of each weapon of each character (including status effects,)

and no guarantee that even if you are doing all of the above correctly, you will survive even normal random encounters without having to die a few times to know how to correctly defeat them.

If the above scenario sounds fun to you (it actually did once to me) then know that I enjoyed SMT Nocturne, Knights in the Nightmare, and the Etrian Odyssey games, and this one just broke me.  Not the challenge per se, but its just tedious for the sake of being tedious.  I tried to play it for several hours.  It has all of these other great points going for it, I paid more for it than I would have otherwise because of my interest in it, and yet I finally gave it up.  After so many hours of precious game time into it, I still wasn't having any fun, and that's when I had to call it. 

No matter how much potential I saw in Resonance of Fate, the required investment was too much to ask from a game in which I simply did not enjoy playing.  If it were a mere few hours long, I could have perhaps tried to endure, but for every battle to be that frustrating in a game the length of your typical RPG, well...

There are a lot of other games I'd enjoy actually playing.

Oh well.  I hear Final Fantasy XIII has a nice 15 hour tutorial...


Flash Gordon (1980) is now on Blu Ray.  I want to buy it.  But I'm not sure I know anyone I can convince to watch it with me.  Our friends enjoy MST3K-ing campy movies, but man, the goofy camp of Flash Gordon makes Star Wars look like Saving Private Ryan.

I think I just convinced myself to go get it. 

Posted on Mar 31st 2010 at 08:55:14 PM by (slackur)
Posted under General, Snatcher, Hideo Kojima, video games

I finally got a working copy of Snatcher on Sega CD this week (I've owned the import Playstation version for a long time but can't read Japanese) and went through it mostly in one sitting.


It is quite remarkable, coming from someone who went through the entirety of American Metal Gear games first, to go back and see what is essentially the prototype CD-ROM narrative of Hideo's work.  Every major facet Hideo is known for is present in Snatcher, and since both the man's ideas and the technology were both so relatively new at the time, to go back and review it seems to almost distill what makes a Kojima project into its very essence. 

The heavy clash of anime and western influences.  The repeated fourth-wall breaks and humor.  The obsession with humanizing technology while showing the isolating effects.  The noir style.  The jazz overtones in the drama scenes.  The overcooked dialogue and emoting.  The crazy plotting and pacing.  The stretched out to ridiculousness monologues.  The romantic entanglements and hero worship.  Humanity needs a savior from outside of humanity mantras.  Tons of hidden or easy-to-miss easter eggs and secrets.  Walking robots. 

***MGS3 and Snatcher spoilers ahead alerts !!!***

Heck, huge chunks of Metal Gear Solid 3, my personal favorite of that series, seems lifted right out of Snatcher, including Cold War east-west tensions, genetic manipulation, father/son legacy issues with elements of patricide, secret government WMDs that fell into private hands, impossible resurrections, double agents, I could go on and on.  I was amazed over and over at the copied elements.

The technical elements were very similar in many ways as well.  Both Snatcher and every MGS title were known to push technological limits of the hardware at the time; while Snatcher doesn't expand the Sega CD into new territory like the MGS games did with Sony's hardware, the use of the then new CD storage was put to justified use. 

Snatcher has lots of voice-overs, CD-quality music, a rather lengthy story, and it's own in-game accessible historical database of game fiction to dig into.  It was one of the first Sega CD games that simply could not have been as engrossing on a cart.

It also has almost no gameplay.  And I love it for that.


When I wrote earlier that I went though all the American Metal Gear games, that's true, from a certain point of view.  I myself completed MGS and over half of MGS2.  But the gameplay mechanics began to really frustrate me in 2, feeling overly complicated and unintuitive.  All the immersive factors in the world are lost to me when after four hours of play I still fumble with the controls.  I don't know exactly why.  But I played MSG 3 and 4 and felt the same way. 

Thankfully, my buddy Arkyst is a real MGS nut and doesn't have the same hang ups, so he took me through all of MGS 2,3, and 4 and even showed me all of the little tricks and secrets.  I love those games, I just can't play them well.

But Snatcher is a different animal all-together.  The closest it comes to a traditional video game is the arcade-like shooting scenes, where you use the d-pad and select a quadrant (the screen is divided into a 3 X 3 grid) and press a button to shoot.  They get fast-paced, but out of an eight hour experience there are perhaps around half a dozen times you do this (and few other times the game requires you to shoot once or twice.)

The rest of the gameplay is simply selecting from menus, using the look and investigate commands on the same selections of each area repeatedly.  It may sound boring, but it turns the experience into more of an interactive graphic novel, or better yet an electronic choose-your-own-adventure book.  The story is good enough (and the voice acting and writing tolerable enough) that you want to solve the mystery, and the game's universe consistent and well thought out enough that everything makes sense in the context of the well developed background.  Most things in Snatcher reach around to get full circle in a way that even good novels often miss the mark, not to mention the hack job that often passes for a video game narrative.

Unlike MGS 2 and up, I could play Snatcher, and it almost never got in the way.  That is, until the very end, in which the shooting sequence took a Mount Everest sized spike in difficulty that saw me getting out the Genesis Justifier light gun to get past, as the d-pad went from passable to yeah-right.  This end bit was admittedly a klaxon in a symphony.  There has to be a better way to ratchet up the tension at the end.

For a game that requires little more than for you to stay awake and occasionally solve an obtuse puzzle for 98% of the time, you are suddenly expected to have cat-like reflexes for the rest of the 2% of gameplay.  Imagine getting through a Zelda game, reaching Ganon, and suddenly you have to play through a Battletoads 3rd stage hyperbike scene with no recourse in order to see the ending.  That's comparatively what Snatcher pulled, and while I finished it, it was jarring.

Nonetheless, overall it was a refreshing experience, and now I desperately want to go through the spiritual-successor follow up, Policenauts.  Unfortunately that never made it over here in the States, and I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try a patch method.  Ah, who am I kidding.  One day I'll try.

Snatcher was a great experience that made me briefly re-evaluate what a game is, and somewhat surprised me (even more so than the MGS games) into remembering that for all the critics of cut-scenes over gameplay, everyone's understanding of interactivity is a little different.  I enjoyed 'playing' Snatcher more than the MGS games not because it controlled better, but because the 'gameplay' fit like a glove for the format (until the very end) and I could sit back and enjoy it instead of being hampered by gameplay choices that I might not overcome.  I doubt I'd have ever experienced the rest of the MGS saga if it weren't for Arkyst (I put many, many hours into MGS 4, I really tried) and it would be a shame if that happened to Snatcher as well.

So, even though it is still pricey, I HIGHLY recommend Snatcher if:

a) you are a Hideo Kojima fan and want to see how much his early stuff fits in with the rest

b) you like Blade Runner (of which the story is 85% derivative of)

c) you are a fan of Cyber Punk and Sci-Fi

d) you enjoy the type of gameplay found in the likes of Hotel Dusk, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, and the Carmen Sandiego series

e) you want to see a game that really needed an M rating for violence, blood and gore (if only for a few scenes)

f) you are collecting Sega CD games and want something to flush the taste of 'Lawnmower Man' down

g) you want to see an inventive and eclectic puzzle design (seriously, the Oleen puzzle was nifty after you recheck your inventory and know what it wants, but the extra letter at the end of the real answer made it a bit too unnecessarily abstract for me.)

h) you want to see a club in a video game that contains people dressed up like the Contra guys, Goeman, Dracula, Simon Belmont, and Sparkster (that scene was so cool!)

i) Dude, you should number lists if they're gonna hit 'I'

j) Seriously, you made it to 'J'?

But enough talk.  Have at you!

(Yes, I know the difference between Hideo and IGA.  But both the title and end references are from Konami and the title fit.  Hush.)

Posted on Mar 5th 2010 at 10:33:16 PM by (slackur)
Posted under General, the South, Collecting

I spend the bulk of my youth in the South, growing up first in Alabama and them mostly in Mississippi.  Sometimes saying that feels like a confession:  not necessarily against people in particular, but in reference to how greatly the location of my upbringing clashes with my character and tastes:

I hate humidity and high temperatures.

I don't like or can't eat the majority of southern foods, though I do love N'Orleans style spice and Cajun cuisines.
Though it is by no means exclusive to the south, I had enough of racism to last two lifetimes.

I am not a member of a southern band.  That at least would be kind of cool.

I lived in the south well over a decade and never developed a southern accent.  Ya'll.

I literally grew up in the high school with the highest teen pregnancy rate in the U.S.  No, not cool.  Our school mascot was the Trojan.  No relation to the product.  Obviously.

Also a mortal sin in the South:  I can't drink tea, sweet or otherwise.

There is a feel to the South that I can't really describe to those not familiar with it.  There is a haze, in the air and sometimes the mind, that seems to perpetuate far down from the Mason Dixon Line.  I made some great friends there, and my beloved was born, raised, and has family there, but I never felt connected to the culture.  All throughout middle and high school, all the way through college, I felt on the outside, and not just in a quirky nerd way. 

I don't really like the South, and the South never cared for me.

I now live happily north in the snow-belt, about an inch from the buckle where it rubs and pinches at times but is necessary to keep the country's pants from sliding down.  My wife was not a southern belle, though she is the most beautiful woman in the world, and she doesn't miss the South either, though she does have happier nostalgia for it than I do.  We visit our respective families on occasion, and the disconnect we have with the area fuels much discussion.

This brings us up to this week, where we're traveling through to Jackson, MS for my sister-in-law's wedding.  Now I normally love our road trips: my Love and I use Google and the Retro Game Map to hit any retro gaming store within 30 miles of our route, and its trips like these that has given us the bulk of our collection.  Its our favorite hobby together, along with local and exotic eateries, and these trips are filled with weird stories and fun memories.

This trip started rough: our kids got sick, and we gave them an extra day before leaving, but we all got terribly sick on the road, and stretched the travel time.  We still made it to a few strange stores along the way, including a stop at 'Check Outs' in Columbia, TN. It's the only store I've seen where you can buy a water bed, power saw, paintball gun, cell phone, bookshelves, and a few hundred nintendo games in one purchase.  And I'm giving special kudos to Zone 1 in Helena, AL.  A top-quality store.

But after we got a hotel in Jackson for a few days, and I got to stretch my legs and do a bit of searching online and locally, nothing came up for classic game stores.  Not one, anywhere.   And I mean nothing.  If you look at the Giant Retro Game Map, there's a 150+ mile circle of nothing for stores, and I can attest that it's not due to stores there and not listed.  Phone call after phone call, person after person, no dice.

OK, well, when I grew up we had to travel an hour and a half for the nearest EB, through the swamp, uphill, both ways.  Seriously.  So, I used to collect by going to pawn shops and flea markets, swapping and trading.  Not much for flea markets in march, but plenty of pawn shops and Goodwills.  Surely, in the absence of a store to trade these old gems in, they would show up where any grandma could dump them, right?


Not a NES Super Mario Bros., not an Atari Asteroids, not even a Genesis sports game.  Zone 1 was the last worthwhile find, and it was an oasis in a retro game desert.  The biggest cache of classic games in the state seemed to be the twenty or so I picked up on the long road out here.  I actually got a bit down.

And I remembered how in my youth, how vigilant I was about searching every haunt I found for any title I did not own, and realized my pride in that early collection (before the Great Entertainment Theft) ten years ago was probably aptly earned.  I seriously, no kidding, began to get homesick for the north.

I'll be back home soon, and get to visit my little shopping circle where nifty finds pop up at least every month, if not every two or three weeks.  But to all who read this, pop the cork, fill 'er up, and pour one out for our fellow collectors in the South.  Not only are they suffering economically (you think you've been hit with the recession, these states down here had it rough long before that hit; imagine it now) but they can't find a decent game store selling anything before PS2 for over a hundred and fifty miles in places.

As an odd footnote, to let you know how backwards the gaming community can be down here, one of the Gamestops I entered (to ask about local classic stores) were bragging about their favorite system, how everyone at the store had one, and I needed one.  Their system of choice?  The PSP Go.  The GO.  The overpriced, UMDless, smaller screen, even-Game-Informer-had-an-article-wondering-what-was-the-point PSP Go.  Both employees showed me theirs, including all of the software they had installed. 

AFTER POKING FUN at my iPhone copy of Plants Versus Zombies.

Pray for these people.

Posted on Feb 25th 2010 at 08:09:27 PM by (slackur)
Posted under General, iPhone, Plants Vs Zombies, N.O.V.A.

I have a confession to make.

No, I don't just make up games to put in my collection, 'The Earth Dies Screaming' is a real Atari 2600 game.

No, I'm not a figure skater in real life.

No, I don't buy every copy of Halo Wars and destroy them in a
fruitless attempt to make the price of mine skyrocket.

No, I haven't forsaken my DS and PSP for a N-Gage.  But you're getting warmer...

I have, sitting on my shelf, Mass Effect 2, Bio Shock 2, AVP, Darksiders, and Dante's Inferno.  I've put a few hours into each, and very much enjoyed my time.  But they've all sat on the shelf collecting dust for two or more weeks, despite my excitement to play each title.


I can't believe I'm typing this, but-

My name is Jesse Miles, and I'm an iPhone Game Addict.

This coming from the guy who, until a few weeks ago, never played a cell phone game more complicated than 'Snake' on a tiny keypad seven years ago.
It started innocently enough, with my wife wanting an iPhone.  Now this awesome chick never asks for much of anything for herself, especially techno-oriented.  So, when she researched the iPhone and genuinely wanted one but thought it too expensive for her, it made the perfect birthday present.  And since it was contractually cheaper for me to replace my own worn out brick of a phone, I got one too.

A month later and she can safely pilot the Space Shuttle through orbit with hers, and I was delighted to find that mine has a calender.  (disclosure- I'm not tech-illiterate, I just don't care.  It's a phone.  I call people.  I don't need to command an army of NES R.O.B.s with the thing.  Although there's probably an app for that.)

So, I'm researching game sites as per the norm, and I read a review for N.O.V.A. 
-FPS for touch controls?  No thanks. 
-Art design and characters inspired by Halo?  Moderately interesting. 
-Mix in Dead Space inspired enemies and level design?  Um, really?
-Full on multiplayer including Wi-Fi and local?  *sits up*
-Generally solid framerate and southpaw control option?  Yeah, but it's just a game on a phone...
-Decent campaign length and only $7?  *runs out to buy an iTunes card*

It's good.  Not just for an iPhone game, it's just good.  Sure it's derivative of previous franchises, but it's fun.  I liked it better than Moon, Dementium, and even many console FPSs.  And the virtual dual analogs work worlds better than I ever assumed they could.

Suddenly I realized, for the first time, the potential of the market.  I ALWAYS have my phone on me.  I try to keep my DS or PSP along, but I'm always paranoid of breaking them or loosing something, or forgetting Metroid Prime Pinball when I NEED TO PLAY METROID PINBALL.  Yes, that's happened.  But it's a mute point if this was a one-in-a-million game.

Then I got Plants Vs. Zombies and played.  All night. Over and over.  You don't understand- I could have slept some of those nights when my 6 week old finally conked out, but I needed to play another round.  My entire family could suffer from this game, but it's alright, I got my wife to play it too.  If you see our family disappearance on Unsolved Mysteries, you, my friend, know the real truth.

Now I just got Transformers G1 Awakening.  Imagine Advance Wars, except replace the characters and plot with the characters and story from the first two seasons of the original Transformers, where the plot is replicated through the mission structure.  With great graphics.  And a 2 player option.  The best Transformers game ever, on a PHONE?!?!

Last night I had a few hours to play, and I was excited to finally get to Bioshock or AVP multiplayer.  But I had to see what plant I would get next in PVZ.  And it hit me-  I was hooked so much my iPhone games were competing with my consoles.  I couldn't believe it.

But apparently Shamu jumped out out the water and ate a trainer, so the world's a little topsy-turvy right now.

My condolences to the trainer's family, I know she wasn't eaten, it wasn't the actual Shamu, and it is rather sad.  But you got to admit that headline made you're eyebrows furrow and wonder if it's thursday because nobody gets the hang of thursdays.

Posted on Feb 20th 2010 at 08:54:20 PM by (slackur)
Posted under General, LAN Gaming, Xbox 360, Fire Beasts

Well, it was all just a matter of time, I suppose.  One of our LAN 360s finally red-ringed for the umpteenth time, and after being in the shop three times already, I'm giving up on it. 

We were a few waves into a night of ODST Firefight, and suddenly a huge fireball blew up from our 3rd LAN setup and incinerated Walter and three bystanders.  Firefighters worked fourteen hours to contain the emerging Balrog but were also consumed in the end and now the flame elemental is destroying Pittsburg.

Actually it just locked up, but with 360s notoriously kicking over your grandmother and stealing your ice cream when you start to trust them again, I thought I'd imagine it a bit more dramatic.

So now I have to decide if it's worth looking to pick up another box, since Friday Night Firefights and other weekend LAN gaming are a house staple, or be fiscally responsible and just ask friends to bring their own extra time bombs. 

Since I often buy more than one LAN-able copy of games for multiplayer, I'll probably just stick it out for now and stay with two machines.  Any other suggestions?

By the way, if you live in the northeastern part of the U.S., there's a knock at your door and you smell something that is not entirely unlike smoky plastic, stay on the couch and glare knowingly at your own 360.

*also, for all of the Sony Fanboys that'll type '360 sux by a PS3', I'll have you know I had to buy another one of those already because of a faulty Blu-Ray drive that was out of warranty.  This current HD generation has not impressed me in terms of reliability.

Posted on Feb 19th 2010 at 06:29:10 AM by (slackur)
Posted under General, General

Top five reasons I'm starting a new blog on one of my favorite web sites:

5.) My 6 week old has kept me awake long enough to watch figure skating when I could be playing new copies of Mass Effect 2, BioShock 2, and AVP.

4.)  I said FIGURE SKATING. 

3.) I'm a glutton for starting something I'll get too busy and forget about.  *Stares mournfully at walls of RPG games*

2.)  Promised myself a treat when I got up to the biggest collection on RFGeneration, and I'm all out of Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream Ice Cream.

1.)  Someone might actually read this and then I'll be accountable for whatever my mind spews out after sleep depravation, my wife will get on and notice, she'll critique my spelling and bad grammar, we'll argue and then make up and feel even closer together after I confess to her how much I really spend on video games this month. 

Wait, why am I typing when I could be playing?...Oh yeah, sleep depriZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz


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Thoughts on video games, gaming culture, concepts intertwining interactive media, my attempts at sounding intelligent, and other First World Problems.

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