Fish

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Battlefield: Hardline is NOT a Battlefield game but....



So I finished the Battlefield: Hardline campaign the other day and, yes, I played it on veteran because I am a glutton for punishment. While I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, let's be honest...it's not a Battlefield game.

Hardline was only given the Battlefield moniker to sell the game but it should have been it's own entity. It should not have been tagged on the to Battlefield franchise like an unwanted stepchild. It was a fun game and a new experience so it should have been a new IP but I digress.

Battlefield games are military-based experiences. Sorry but setting up a police television series campaign about drug runners does not fall into that category. It made me feel that DICE was scared to attempt a new IP. It's like if a GTA game was released that was about saving orphans from dictators. It just doesn't work. People expect certain experiences when they play titles from a franchise. They like small changes, not totally new directions and canon. I heard many voices complaining about Hardline, and I found very few justifications for those complaints. I think people were stymied by the lack of military experience. It didn't fulfill their expectations, what they wanted, from a typical Battlefield game.

The story was intense because of the stealth aspect. Sure, you could go in guns blazing but rewards are higher if you took your time and tried not killing everyone. By the way, the Taser is totally fun. Trying to be stealthy also slows the game down and not everyone likes taking things slow. Those people would find the experience plodding and boring. I found it one part challenging and two parts frustrating. The enemies could detect me, crouched, through walls. I know it was the veteran difficulty but come on! It's not like I was stalking Superman. X-ray vision is unacceptable.

There is fairly high replayability if you are a completionist. There are quite a few collectibles plus the achievement/trophy for arresting all the criminals with warrants. Only a few achievements/trophies are for multiplayer, which is a nice change. So many games have now gone MP heavy with the rewards and honestly, some are near impossible to get unless you play on doing the same thing over and over ad nauseum.

Multiplayer offers up the typical game modes; team deathmatch, conquest, etc. There are some new additions, my favorite being Hotwired. I mean, it's keep-away with cars. How awesome is that? I was not a big fan of Rescue and Crosshair. The handful of times I tried these "objective" based games were a disaster. The teams were unbalanced (think 5 vs 2) and since all you really need to do is eliminate the other team, since there are no respawns, there really isn't any objective to try for. No need to complete, or even attempt, the objective to win so why bother? The unbalanced teams are a HUGE factor when there isn't a respawn. I was dropped into a game that was previously 5 vs 1 so I brought my team to 2. I was swiftly killed before I even gained control of my character after the load screen. Several experiences like this has left my unwilling to even play these modes. No desire whatsoever.

I think the thing that has stood out to my the most about Hardline....it's almost a Bad Company. No I am not saying it's as good, or even close to as much fun, What I am saying is that Hardline has given me some insight into why fans love Bad Company so much. It comes down to the story. Bad Company was not your typical military game. The story had misfit characters that everyone could relate to and enjoy. It was a new direction. Same with Hardline. It is a new direction and NOT the cookie cutter, generic military-esque story with one-dimensional characters that leave little or no impression. DICE has stated they have been unable to figure out why people love the Bad Company series so much. Well, this is it. Bad Company was full of imperfect and unique characters punctuated with honest humor.

So that's it. That's my opinion. Love it or hate it. I enjoyed Battlefield: Hardline but I do think it needed to be treated to it's own IP.

Friday, March 20, 2015

So I Was On a Podcast....Again....




A couple weekends ago, I was at PAX East. I was there on a media badge for Structure Network and having a wonderful, though exhausting, time checking out all the games. Of course going to a gathering of the nerds has the added bonus of bumping into people (friends) you know in the industry. 

I managed ot bump into Aaron over at GameEnthus, a couple times in fact, and after PAX was over he asked me to come on their podcast. I had been on once before but that was ages ago. Needless to say, I had a great time...as always. Tiny (@Tiny415), Mike (@AssaultSuit), and Aaron (@Ind1fference) are awesome. They are the type of guys I could sit at a bar with, drink beer, and just shoot the shit for hours. 

Oh wait, I kind of did. You should have a listen at the shenanigans. 



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Variables of Friendship



Friendship: Noun - 1. the state of being a friend; association as friends (to value one's friendship)

I consider myself to be a sensitive, friendly, comforting, honest individual. I like to help people and I enjoy the good feeling I get from knowing that I helped someone in need. I'd share anything of mine with someone I considered a friend. I'd bend over backwards to make them happy. However, sometimes the people that need me use me under the guise of friendship.

I consider myself a good friend. I step up to the plate without being asked and am willing to fade into the background when needed. I never make demands of my friends. I don't demand attention, or phone calls/texts within a certain said time period. I do like to be acknowledged though and all I do ask is that you are at least half the friend to me that I am willing to be to you.

My close friends are my family. I'd do anything for them. I don't expect that same dedication but I do at least expect them to inquire as to my health and well being from time to time. I do not expect to be relegated to being a tool to further your life and once my usefullness has worn off, to be discarded until you're bored or needy again.

Over the past few years I have learned that friendship has many definitions. Friendship is varible, fragile, strong, and fleeting. A friend can be someone you care about for your whole life, but that same person can decide you're inconvenient to have around so will only be your friend when they need you. That need for someone reliable is what drives their "friendship", otherwise you're just someone they know. Once they don't have that driving need, you're just "so-and-so" that I used to hang out with.  But when something comes up that you can't handle or you need someone super reliable, I'll the first person you call. You're not there when I need you though...and that's just selfish.

Honestly, I have spent my life trying to look past most of humanity's flaws in thie regard and I have tried to be above it but this shit is getting old. I am so tired of being someone's closest friend until one of their other close friends has reverted to middle school and won't allow for more than one friend. I am sick of being used by people that profess their affection for me, but dump me when I finish out my required "duty" to them.

Maybe this next year, I need to get mean. Maybe I need to start acting like those people around me. Maybe I should stifle my "goodwill towards man" and start being a user and abuser to those half-assed friends around me. Maybe it's time for me to stop answering their calls. I don't expect my friends to be there at my beck and call, but I do expect them to answer the call/text when it arrives. I do expect a friendly "hi" every month or so. I do expect them to let me need them as much as they need me.  I don't want to be the center of a friend's universe; I'd like to be at least part of the damn asteroid belt.

Is that so much to ask?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Changing Things Up

I usually talk about video games but I think it's time for my blog to change a little. I stopped blogging because I got caught up in other things, personal things, family things, life in general.

Last night I couldn't sleep and thought that maybe it was time for me to start writing again but instead of just sticking to video games, start getting more personal. So many of us out never really open up to anyone, not even those that are supposed to be the closest to us. We are afraid of judgment or maybe we think no one else would understand. I think its time to be brave and possibly give someone confidence through the knowledge that maybe they aren't alone.

Not sure where I am going to start or exactly what I am going to say. This isn't going to be planned thing. I will write when the mood strikes me but I will try to write something daily, even if it's just a "hi" or to talk about what I am currently playing (I have an Xbox One and PS4 now, by the way).

Bear with me while I adjust to being a more open book and pushing myself to write. Hopefully I will, at the very least, amuse you. My life is fairly mundane, full of housekeeping and kids, but I do have some interesting ideas and thoughts. I have issues just like any other person. Sometimes those issues are hilarious and sometimes they are sad.

Hey I might even toss in an opinion about a beer too....stay tuned!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I Posted Pictures of Myself in a Bikini and Why I Did It



Yes, I did that. Today I broke down and posted pictures of myself, on Facebook, wearing a bikini. This is something I swore I would never, ever do. My reason for not doing it were many. Most were because I didn't feel my body was good enough to be seen in a bikini, in short - embarrassment and shame.

I am 41 years old and have had five kids. My body certainly wasn't good enough to be seen...right? This is what the internet and society would have me believe. Unfortunately, it is something I believed and it had to stop. I am not 6 ft tall with legs up to my neck. I am not a super model and I am shaped like a pear, not an hourglass and certainly not a freeway.

A few weeks ago, I started getting serious about getting into shape. I enlisted the help of my buddy Shawn. He's extremely fit and I know he would force me to keep going even when I wanted to give up. Still, I just couldn't visualize the progress I was making. This past week a lot of things happened that gave me pause about my anti-pictures-of-me-in-a-bikini stance. My friend Dan has been working out and posting pictures of his progress. I think he's doing a great job. His body isn't perfect yet either, but here he was embracing the progress he was making and being proud of it. Owning it! Then yesterday I watched a video of a "big" girl pole-dancing on Britain's Got Talent. That woman was out there doing stuff I could never do. I don't have that kind of upper body strength. Her confidence was amazing to watch and I admired her for putting herself out there.

I have been working hard too so why shouldn't I be proud of my progress and show it off? Well, there came that nagging idea that my progress wasn't good enough to show off yet. I hunted around the internet and saw many sites recommending taking pictures to give yourself a better perspective. We are all so hypercritical of ourselves that sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees.

Of course, I also witnessed the internet being cruel. Shaming people for their size, lumps, bumps and imperfections. Girls being shamed for not having breasts, breasts that were too large, being fat, having cellulite, etc and you know what..it was happening to men too. When did it become okay to belittle people for trying? There is a heavyset, older man that I see at the track nearly every day. He comes there to jog and is obviously trying to get healthy. The other day a group of teenagers were making fun of him. They were laughing at how slow he ran, his jiggling belly and how hard he was breathing. I dearly wanted to slap them silly and felt protective of the man that was just trying to better himself. We were both trying to accomplish the same thing and  no one has any right to shame him for being a work-in-progress.

After all this, today I decided I needed to put up or shut up. I needed to get a better perspective of myself, my body, and realize that I am worth being proud of. My hard work needs to be celebrated and the naysayers can bite me. I need to not worry what some insecure, immature idiot is going to think of my body so long as I can stand up proudly and say, "Look at what I have done so far! Look at what I accomplished!"

I did this for my daughters, myself and those friends/family that are trying to do the same thing I am...get healthy. I did this for all the people out there that just don't feel good enough. You are good enough and fuck what the internet says. Put down the fashion magazines and embrace yourself. If you don't like something, by all means change it but don't compare yourself to society's idea of perfection. Be your own perfection.

So I my body isn't perfect and it will never be perfect by everyone's standards, I accept that. Just look at what I have done so far. Eat a dick if you think my body is disgusting because I am proud of it.





Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Moral Compass



Morality...a rather intimidating word, isn't it? It brings to mind rules regarding which aspects of life are good, bad, dirty or clean. It's an imposing word but also, completely vague. What IS morality and whom decides what is moral and what isn't?

I've asked this of different people over the years and more than once they've responded with the idea of a moral compass. Okay, but who decides how this magical compass works? I had a friend cite the Bible as the author of all things moral or not but what if you aren't a part of a religion based on Christianity? Does this mean you are instantly immoral because your moral compass isn't guided by biblical teachings? What if you do not agree with everything in the Bible or maybe you follow the teachings of less popular scripture? 

Then there are the societal rules. The rules that society, as a whole, put forth as the guideline to what is moral and immoral. These are, of course, based on the personal opinions of those ancestors that have gone before us and very few have changed with the times. Many are outmoded ideas those some are completely relevant and necessary. Murder is immoral, unless you kill someone protecting yourself/family. All these nuances to the moral code, nothing set entirely in stone. 

Recently, I was having a discussion with someone and they referred to several people I know as "immoral" with regards to their views on sex/sexuality. While I might be considered more traditional in my personal sexuality/sex life; I'm pretty broadminded about sex/sexuality in general. I was offended by the idea they were immoral people just because they weren't in traditional "Christian" relationships. 

I'm sure you are wondering what I mean by that last statement, so let me explain. I have friends that do not follow the idea that a relationship is made up of one man and one woman. I have friends that believe sex should be adventurous and shared with others. That maybe a spanking isn't something you do to naughty children. I have friends that are homosexual and friends that are in relationships that might include more than two people. I have people that have fetishes or closets full of "martial aides" and friends that think porn is awesome for a couple to watch together. They are all in loving, long-term relationships that I would consider healthy. Healthier than some of the "traditional" relationships I've seen. 

While in this discussion with said "moral judge", I asked why these people are immoral and they responded with, "well, I wouldn't do that and it's wrong." Wait....what?! Just because it's not something you'd do, it automatically makes it immoral? How does one become the moral compass by which the world should judge themselves? I'd like to assume the role of Moral Ruler. Does it come with a crown? A throne?

Seriously though, just because you don't like something, doesn't make it immoral. It makes it distasteful...TO YOU. Whether someone is gay, polyamory, into BDSM/S&M, swinging, swapping, fetishists, traditional or experimental...as long as it's between consenting adults, I don't see how it could be considered immoral. They are happy, healthy, and content. They are not affecting you and your relationship. They aren't knocking at your door asking to drink the Kool-Aid and convert to their way of thinking.

Maybe my moral compass is a little wobbly and doesn't point North, as was implied by the "moral judge". I think I'd rather be immoral and see people happy than be their kind of moral and walk through life hating everything in it that doesn't think like they do.

By the way, I was told I was "raised better than this" for thinking this way. Oh well, someone save me a seat in Hell. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dancing With Myself



It's Saturday night, and I am home alone with my two youngest children (aged 3 and 7) and despite the continued winter temps...I find myself feeling peppy.

I cooked dinner for my family. My oldest girl and her boyfriend are vising from Cleveland and they traveled down to see the local high school play. My 16 yr old son is helping with the behind-the scene stuff and my husband went to see the play as well.

I found myself throwing on my headphones and dancing around the house. It occurred to me that this feeling of freedom, this total lack of self-consciousness, does not happy often enough. Not only for myself but, as I suspect, for others as well. Why do we become so worried about how we look? My youngest children will flail about to music like they are having seizures, all the while pure joy is apparent in their every action.

I think that we, as adults, forget how to just let go. Let go of ourselves and lose ourselves completely in a moment. Whether it's to sit quietly or to dance like no one is watching, we forget to just live. We all seem too concerned with how people view us, or being vulnerable because someone saw us doing something goofy - like dancing alone in our living rooms.

We have so many responsibilities and worries that weigh us down, why shouldn't we enough moments of feeling light and free? I was caught by a friend dancing around with my kids once. When I realized that person saw me, I was momentarily mortified but then they chuckled and said it was the most fantastic thing they had seen in a long time. From that time, and for a long time to come, I stopped worrying about people seeing me being silly. Of course, another child and an added 15 lbs made me go back to being self-conscious though I hadn't realized it did until this very moment.

At this very moment, I decided to take back my personal freedom, my freedom to stop being so damned serious about myself. Not only did I dance around my house like an insane woman, I found myself smiling for absolutely no reason. My two youngest children walked up to me laughing and told me they loved me, just randomly. I assume they could perceive my contentment and wanted to express their feelings about it. Either way, I promise to be free and goofy more often.

As someone as said before, why take life so seriously? No one gets out alive.