Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Little Backlog Detour

I know, I know...I was supposed to be finishing Fallout 3 but I was detoured. I finished the Call of Duty Black Ops II campaign, on veteran, instead. I am a storyline person. A great multiplayer is an added bonus but all in all, I am far more interested in single player. I refuse to pay $60 for a multiplayer game.

 The Call of Duty franchise has not disappointed me much when looking at storyline, except for Modern Warfare 2. Really Infinity Ward? I walked through that campaign on veteran like I was playing on easy. Anyway, I rather enjoyed Treyarch's story in Black Ops 2, more than I thought.

 However, there are some elements I absolutely hated. Let's talk about those Strike Force missions for a moment...what in the Hell were the devs thinking? They were awful. Here I am trucking along, playing the story, enjoying the action when all of a sudden BAM...now I have to switch to an RTS mode. Did I mention I hate the RTS genre? If I wanted an RTS game, I would have purchased one.

 Having to switch into this RTS game mode really yanked me out of the main story. It was jarring and disruptive. I found myself resenting having to play that section. Resenting it enough I didn't care of I was successful or not. To add insult to injury; the AI in those missions were completely worthless. I mean the AI was stupid and thoroughly useless. I am sure Treyarch felt they were adding a new and exciting element (read: innovation) into the Call of Duty franchise but please...DO.NOT.DO.IT.AGAIN.

I will probably try playing through again, on easy, so I can grab some achievements but I guarantee I am not looking forward to those stupid Strike Force missions. I'd almost rather play Amy again....almost.

P.S. - If you want a great story in a military themed shooter, pick up Medal of Honor Warfighter. I was literally tearing up at the end. It really pulled at the heartstrings. If you want to play the entire story, grab Medal of Honor: Tier One and play it first.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dear Microsoft, We Are Not All Single Males

I have been chewing on the Xbox One Reveal from yesterday and while I understand they plan on releasing more information about the gaming aspect of the new "device" at E3, I am left with some serious questions. Questions that are not really being answered satisfactorily by the various press releases.

 First, let's talk about the reveal. They did offer up a ton of information but if you sit back and really look at it, they didn't reveal much of anything. We know that sports (NFL) will play a significant role in the entertainment side of the Xbox One. We know a new style of Kinect will be packaged with each console and will be required to use the console. We know it will have multitasking and Skype. At this point, we are assured it is a giant, voice activated TV remote. I think it's cool to be able to transition to live TV without fumbling for my remote but I am also not assured it will be compatible with my cable box/company.

 No really, that is what it is. I get that consoles are no longer just about games anymore but there is a huge portion of population that does not want to yell at their TVs. They are tired of have apps and features they never use but essentially are paying for. People do not want a Kinect that is always watching, lurking, waiting...stalking them like some creeper ex. Sure it's cool it can monitor my heart rate when I am exercising but I don't want it to keep track of when I happen to be in the room. Hal = Do NOT want. I unplug my Kinect now when I am not using it because the red light and way it follows me is unnerving. I am ready for the next generation of consoles to offer a wide variety of entertainment options. I have watched the evolution of gaming since the 1970's.

I don't care about backwards compatibility. I own 4 Xbox 360s so I will have one around for years to come and will use it to play my old games. I still have an NES, SNES, Genesis, etc, etc. You get the idea. I like retro gaming and will not dump and old console just because the newest thing has hit the market.

 Then there is the new rules for game ownership. You will be required to install a disc onto the hard drive to be able to play. That game will now be registered to you (your gamertag). Anyone in your household can play that game on that console so long as you are logged in. Guess what that implies? If you have a family and had planned on owning more than one Xbox One console (like me) then you will most likely have to buy two of every.single.game. Why you ask? Well, if you have to be logged into the main console so your family can play the game you bought (new) then you cannot go and play a game on that second console. Conversely, unless your family buys a game and registers is with their gamertag, you will not be able to play that game unless they are logged in. This kills the idea of multi-console households. My husband and I tend to buy 2 consoles because we both game, like to game together and we have kids. Now, this doesn't seem likely to happen since having to buy 2 of everything is a financial nightmare. Granted this problem could be easily solved by requiring the disc to boot up the game but Microsoft has stated that once it's installed, the disc is no longer required.

 Well  Microsoft, I think you have forgotten a tiny detail; the average gaming household no longer consists of a single male (15-30yrs old) with only one device. (Don't get your undies in a twist about my saying male. The industry is still geared towards marketing to men. It's a fact.) Gamers' ages have gone up. They have gotten married, had kids and now own more than one console. This idea you have to prevent borrowed or trading games without getting your nickel and dime has screwed us. Yes, screwed us. We want to share gaming with our families but are being told we will most likely have to pay twice as much as those single guys to do so. Sure, we have more disposable income but we are not independently wealthy either.

 Microsoft, you have 18 days to wow me with the gaming information and 6 months to figure out how to fix this problem for the multi-console household. Otherwise, you will cut your sales to these homes in half, or more. Isn't the bottom line all about the almighty dollar? Than why punish people for wanting to spend more on your hardware, online subscriptions and apps?

Your move, Microsoft.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Backlog Gaming: Fallout 3 - Mothership Zeta

This is the last piece of DLC I need to complete to finally finish Fallout 3, well the story aspect at least. I do plan and doing some achievement hunting when it's all said and done.

Anyway, so far this is a fun little romp through a spaceship. However, holy crap but some of the aliens are hard to kill. I have stopped using their weapons and gone back to mine. Hopefully my ammo holds out because my stimpaks are dwindling.

Now my love for Fallout 3 runs deep. It's one of my favorite RPGs ever. The story is original and well written. The RPGs aspects are not overly complicated and the "perks" you can choose from are hilarious. It has a little bit of everything and is rather engrossing. Sure there are programming glitches but thing I have come across has rendered my game unplayable or forced me to go back to a previous save.

So here I am on this spaceship and I am getting my ass handed to me on a regular basis. I am finding others that have been kidnapped by the aliens. Who are these people? Seriously.  Let's see how long it takes me to finish this.

Monday, May 20, 2013

College and Your Parents

I am now that mother of a college graduate and I am really not sure how I feel about it. Part of me is elated that one of my children took the step of continuing their education and now stands a better chance of earning a nice income. The other side of me is panicking and not just about the cost I incurred to send her, but also about her future.

 When my oldest daughter (now 22 years old) announced she had found the college she wanted to attend, her father (my ex...for good reason) told her that he was withdrawing his offer of helping with tuition because "that place is too expensive". The real reason, in my opinion, was the fact she was not interested in going to a college in Florida near where he lived. I found my daughter in tears and she told me that he had stated she "was not allowed to attend that school".

 Now there are a few things that people who know me will tell you. First, I am very generous, sometimes to a fault. Second, you either like me or hate me. There really isn't a gray area though people that dislike me generally do because I am too open-minded and not judgmental. Lastly, one of the best ways to tick me off is to "forbid" me to do something. I don't take kindly to being forbidden. I didn't like it when I was 5 and I don't like it at 40. So when he forbade her from going to College of Wooster, I took it as a challenge. I would send her there, with or without him.

 She was able to get her Bachelor's Degree in four years. This is not something people can say anymore. Most colleges are overcrowded so completing all your required classes can take 5-6 years. Add to that cost and the fact most people have to work and go to school (which really kills your GPA)...you are easily adding time.

 My daughter managed to rack up scholarships and grants. We were able to take her $200,000 (for 4 years) college and cut it down to $70,000. That's a pretty awesome discount. Of course this also means I will be paying for this "fancy" education for the next 20 years or so and it is a huge expense, especially when I am looking at my 15 year old, 6 year old and 2 year old still needing to go to college. However, I felt it was worth it to give her the best education I could and the college she worked so hard to get into. My ex's daughter is going to attend a state school, that will cost nearly $21,000 a year if she doesn't get any free money and I will bet it takes her longer than 4 years. So in the long run, he will probably pay as mush or more than I did, negating his reasons for not helping with our daughter's education like he promised.

 Granted, she feels awful about the cost but there is something all you kids need to remember, we parents are willing to do this for you. We want you to have a better start at life than we did. We want you to live better than we did. We are willing to make sacrifices in the hopes that the next generation has it better than we did. No I am not talking about recycling and conservation, I am talking about starting "adulthood". Being an adult is hard enough but it is made more difficult when you are not prepared for it. An education is one of those steps you can take to make adulthood a little easier.

 Now graduates, go forth and do great things. I know you aren't sure what your next step is exactly. Many of you are not sure if you want to go to grad school or find jobs. I know that jobs are tough and the great, wide world is a scary place but just try to remember, you have wonderful parents that are standing behind you, acting as that stable force, rooting for you and ready to cushion your fall if they need to. They are willing to do all this because they love you and are proud of you. They took on the expense of raising you so that you could become a better person than they themselves are. Now smile...and take on the world.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Well Crap!

So I didn't get to game at all these past 10 days. My mom was visiting from California and she is so anti-video game, it is amazing. Especially since she had played just about every Legend of Zelda game in existence. So there's that...

 My oldest child graduated from college this past Monday as well and in stereotypical, college graduate form; she's moved back home. I am trying to sort out bedrooms and storage as we speak. I am happy to have her home and she got her degree in 4 years, not the average 6-7 years. Everyone gave me grief for sending her to a small private college but in the long run, I will get off cheaper since I won't be paying for more than those 4 years. Now she needs to figure out her next step. I am voting for grad school but she might go to work. She is also toying with the idea of joining the Peace Corp. I am good with that too.

 In other news, I think I will be skipping PAX Prime this year. I will put my husband's passes up for sale in July when I know for sure. My decision is based on a few things, though #1 is the cost. The money could be better used for something else and I just cannot bring myself to pay to go. The problem with writing for a small site is the fact no one pays your travel expenses...or you. So with the time off work, the $1000 for plane tickets, $1000 for hotel plus food; not going to happen. This is a big disappointment for me because Seattle is my hometown. I have not been back since my grandmother died and I would love to see it again. It would be therapeutic and almost like a balm for my soul just to smell that ocean air. I will miss seeing all those people I enjoy spending time with at PAX conventions but maybe next year.

Well, I need to get rooms sorted and then I am going to try to get on Fallout 3. However, if the spouse gets home first it will be Black Ops 2 multiplayer. It's Double Weapons XP Weekend.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fallout 3 Has Been Replaced

I looked everywhere for Fallout 3 and couldn't find the disc so I broke down and headed to my local GameStop. Fortunately, they had the non-GOTY edition so it only set me back $6.29. Yes, I know I could have downloaded it from Xbox.com but that would have set me back $15 and I don't need the DLC from the GOTY edition because I already own it all.

So later today, I will start trying to finish Fallout 3. It shouldn't take me too long because I am already on the last DLC, Mothership Zeta, making my way off the ship. Maybe a few hours worth of playtime.

Happy gaming!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Having Trouble Choosing

Found this on Memebase

I was all set to pick Fallout 3 back up and finish it. Hell, I was pretty excited by the prospect as well, but when I reached for the case and opened it...the disc was gone.

Now I just played Fallout 3 about a month ago and the disc was there. The small people (kids) in my house claim innocence and have no knowledge of the disc's location. I find this extremely irritating, which in my mind is perfectly reasonable. I am face with the prospect of having to purchase a new disc. My old disc was starting to crack in the center.

Let's be real for a minute, the game case designs are kind of lame. The way you have to push the center, and the pressure to hold it in place rest in that center, isn't the best thing for those delicate discs. We bought Fallout 3 at launch so this is not a new disc by any stretch of the imagination. If you bought a game in a "steelbook" case, like Mass Effect 3, then you know those are even worse. I literally had to clip the plastic tabs to get the discs out without snapping the disc in half. Who came up with those? Can't we have a sleeve or something inside the cases instead? Just a thought.

Anyway, my big question now is; do I buy and download game from Xbox Live ($14.99) or do I attempt to find a used, non-GOTY edition (I already own all the DLC) for $10 or under...somewhere in my area?

What do I play until then? Which backlog game should I start or finish? I have so many. I am leaning towards Assassin's Creed or Kingdoms of Amalur. Though I haven't finished Black Ops 2 campaign nor have I even started Halo 4 campaign. There is all Fallout New Vegas staring at me.  I am stuck on Halo: Reach but my disc cracked (thanks kids) and needs replacing. I probably have a list of 30-40 games between downloadables and disc copies. Then there are the Playstation 3 games and some Wii one too. You can sprinkle the odd DS in there too.

Suggestions are welcome.