A big bowl of thanks

Originally posted at GameSpot on March 3, 2008

Being thankful isn’t something I do enough of. I know it’s cliché, but I need to strive at being more aware of the blessings I enjoy each and every day.

This is no different when it comes to video games, and I want take time out with this blog to review what an amazing 4-5 months it’s been in my gaming world.

Due to the generosity of family at Christmas and our tax return, I’ve been able to advance more in my game library is these past few months than I have in quite a while:

Xbox:

Chessmaster

Forza Motorsport

Jade Empire: Limited Edition

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders

Project Gotham Racing 2

Project: Snowblind

Sid Meier’s Pirates!

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow

DS:

Astro Boy: Omega Factor (GBA)

Diner Dash: Sizzle and Serve

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Mario Kart DS

Mario Party DS

New Super Mario Brothers

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

Risk / Battleship / Clue (GBA)

Star Fox Command

Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (GBA)

TMNT (GBA)

Uno / Skipbo / Uno Freefall

Hardware:

Nintendo DS Lite (2)

Fanatec Speedster 3 Forceshock Xbox Racing Wheel

I look at this list with a sense of awe and intimidation, both excited about the purchases but wondering how I’m going to find time for all of them.

That’s the problem with my gaming hobby – I’m acquiring games faster than I can play through them.

I’m not the first person to have this problem, nor will I be the last – and as far as problems go, I think having an abundance of games is probably the best kind to have.

Post tenebras lux

Wheel of Fortune!

Originally posted at GameSpot on February 1, 2008

Patience. It’s a virtue few people seem to have, and even fewer have mastered. While I don’t claim to be in either of those categories, I know that waiting to buy something can really help you out when it comes to saving money.

Case in point, the Fanatec Speedster Force 3 Feedback Xbox racing wheel. What was originally sold for $170.00 when it first came out, I was able to get on eBay for $20.00 ($40.00, if you include S&H). I’m still getting everything I can out of my Xbox, and this wheel definitely extends its life-span.

A few observations:

– All my old racing games are new again, including Project Gotham Racing 2 which I had sold but bought again for the wheel. It’s been worth it, actually – what I remember as being a mostly blah game has now turned into something fun every time play. I use first-person view now, and it really helps to immerse you in the game. There’s nothing like seeing someone you cut off in your rear view as you speed down the track. While I’ve mostly been playing PGR2 with the wheel, Forza is no slacker. Once I get as far as I can on Gotham, I’ll probably switch to that.

– One game I won’t be playing with the wheel is Rallisport Challenge. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the best racing games I’ve played – but I need a guardrail man! If I don’t have something keeping me remotely on the track, I fly all over the place. No, Rallisport will stay a thumbstick game.

– The wheel is family-friendly. What do I mean by that? I mean that even I have been surprised by everyone’s reaction to it. For both friends and family, I can say that those who are familiar with video games and those who are not both enjoy the wheel. And that makes me happy.

– While this doesn’t reference the wheel directly, I realized something I sub-consciously love about racing games – you never run out of gas.

– It’s a long story, but we actually have an old van seat set up in the basement – so you really do feel like you’re in a car. Plus, it’s a two-seater! So, just like real life, someone can sit beside you and dispense helpful hints!

Post tenebras lux

Friday Night Frivolities

Originally posted at GameSpot on February 1, 2008

This past Friday night (January 25th) my family and I went over to a friend’s house, and we were able to get some good gaming in. I brought my Xbox and wheel, and they had no less than four DS systems to play with. Since I got one, I was looking forward to some wireless play.

The big surprise for me was playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on the DS. I didn’t think a FPS would translate well to the touch screen format, and for the first few games I was right. But then, much like StarFox Command, once I got used to the DS screen it was a lot of fun. I even logged a few kills, which after having trouble even aiming on the first run-through I was happy about. Having the computer terminals that triggered the map and radar was interesting as well – not just a toss-in gimmick, but actually affected game play in a good way.

In other news, it was fun to show off the Xbox racing wheel. My friend enjoys a good race; the cars on Forza Motorsports really had him excited. I love it when people enjoy a game for the first time – and if I’m a part of it, then I feel even better.

And now – the lightning round!

They let me borrow Mario Hoops: 3 on 3 – so far so good. The learning curve seems a little high for a Mario game, but it’s not like have to remember every nuance to make the game fun. I haven’t played it too much with everything else going on, but I would like to spend some more time with it.

Wireless MarioKart DS. We had about five going at once; I used to think I was good at the game. . .

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 was a big hit, as usual. I’m a fan, so it makes perfect sense.

Yoshi’s Island for the GBA – my wife used to love the game, so I watched her on it a little bit.

Homemade pizza + sweet iced tea + fresh cookies + friends = great Friday night

Post tenebras lux