October Gaming Weekend ’14

The weekends come and go – we look forward to them all week, and they’re gone too soon.

Yet truly great weekends find a way to last longer, a way to stay with us more than the two and a half days they officially take up.

I point to Exhibit A – a recent weekend (10/10-11/14) – as my latest example of Continue reading →

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Recent happenings on ringed orbital installations

Originally posted at GameSpot on April 24, 2008

Halo has been happening around me lately, with two recent examples proving yet again why this game is fun.

Last Tuesday night (April 15th) we went over to family’s house for a cook-out; burgers on the grill, fresh-baked cookies for dessert, etc. – a really great night. What capped if off, however, was the fact that my brother-in-law recently hooked up Xbox Live again.

So after a long day at the office and a fun night with family, I went home and went to bed – right? Wrong! I did my duty and after tucking everyone in to bed at our place, drove back to the in-law’s house and played some slayer! It was a blast to be back on live again; even at the late hour there were still plenty of people playing Halo 2. There were even new maps I hadn’t seen yet, which is always a bonus. I was definitely a little rusty, but got back into the groove pretty quick.

Many thanks to my brother-in-law who not only extended the invite, but let me hang out until 2:30 a.m.

If that wasn’t enough, we had friends over the next night (April 16th) – and a certain game was played for roughly four hours. That certain game? Halo: Combat Evolved. This is the couple my wife and I had introduced to Halo, and they couldn’t wait to play. Rockets on Derelict, Slayer on Prisoner, even some sniping on Boarding Action – very cool.

The girls did great in their own right, with a certain someone getting to know and loving the red B button. We all had a great time, and finished up past midnight.

All this to say, Halo is still pulling its weight when many other games have out-lived their fun. Hail the Maser Chief!

 Post tenebras lux

Of Halo and Heroes

Originally posted at GameSpot on January 29, 2008

My brother-in-law came over on January 17th and we were able to get in some Halo and Hero. Halo being the game we practically got to know each other by, and Hero being a sweet Chinese wuxia film.

To each his own – he still has unparalleled sniping ability, but I’ve got the handle on rockets. It had been a while since I’ve played multi-player on Hang’em High and Derelict, but just like riding a bicycle, you never forget. We topped it all off with a pizza.

Good times, good times.

Post tenebras lux

Keeping the bighorn sheep population in check

Originally posted at GameSpot on January 4, 2008

My family and I went over to a friend’s house the other night (January 2nd), and between the good food and excellent conversation we managed to get some gaming in. Some of my thoughts on the night:

Their parents bought them (how cool is that?) Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2008 for the Wii for Christmas. Their family enjoys hunting, so the game is a natural fit. I’ve never hunted before, but I enjoy the outdoors and I can see the appeal. I played a few rounds, shot a few deer – even a big horn sheep. It was kind of fun; you definitely have to really enjoy it to get into it, but with the natural sounds and the animals bounding playfully in front of me, it was kind of relaxing in a way.

I found myself wondering if the genre could be expanded and, in my opinion, made better. What if you had actual locations you could hunt on – not just a generic representation? I mean, the game had locations such as “New Zealand Fall” or “Montana Winter,” but it’s not like they were very different from each other. When a game accurately represents a real-world location, its stock goes up in my book.

What about on-line or multi-player? Maybe this is already out there, but I would think hunting with your buddies would just seem natural in a game like this. Isn’t that part of the draw of hunting?

How about an “epic hunt?” By epic, I mean having to track an animal across mountains and continents, all kinds of weather, finally culminating in that one shot that brings down your prize and sends your war cry echoing from the mountains…I don’t know if you can actually translate that into an enjoyable experience in a game, but it sounds good in my head.

In retrospect, I’m probably thinking way too much about a hunting game, but I think there are some interesting possibilities out there.

Next game up was Need for Speed Carbon. I wasn’t that impressed, but it was alright as far as racing games go. I never got into the whole “underground” movement in the Need for Speed games; still some of the cars were pretty nice to look at. What didn’t work at all, however, was the Will remote. They had the wheel shell you could place it in to drive, but it still felt awkward. Racing with a free-floating wheel feels less like the real thing then moving the right thumb-stick.

Something else – when we tried to get chased by cops, we couldn’t find them. When we did get some to chase us, they couldn’t keep up. Weird – in previous Need for Speed games they jump down your throat!

To cap off the night, I hooked up the Xbox and we played Halo. Ah, it always brings back a lot of good memories – back when I had ample free time and could just spend hour after hour at someone’s house playing Slayer. I enjoy what I’ll call the “Halo Effect” – this is setting down to play a quick few games and all of the sudden it’s three hours later. The last time for the four of us played it was Blood Gulch all the way, but this time we had a little Derelict and Wizard action. My wife is getting better all the time…

It was a great night.

 Post tenebras lux