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Chitown_lova Blog

I Heart 360

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So I finally picked up an Xbox 360 (for my birthday) and nabbed 5 games to jumpstart my collection. (PGR3, GRAW, Dead Rising, NFS:Most Wanted, and Fight Night Round 3). Combined with my gamefly membership, I've been having a field day. A few notes from my first two weeks with my 360:

  1. Although we all talk about wanting new game experiences, graphics is still king.
  2. Although graphics is still king, you can't put lipstick on a pig.
  3. Smacking a zombie upside its head with a bowling ball is extremely therapeutic.
  4. Classical music is surprisingly conducive to powersliding through London at 100 MPH.
  5. The aggressiveness of your videogame boxing style is inversely proportionate to how similar to you your videogame boxer looks.
  6. If you've practically beaten a game on the original Xbox, starting from scratch with the 360 version is about as fun as it sounds.
  7. If I had one of those eye monocles, I'd use it to play videogames discretely all day.

Gaming Binge...

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I've finished off Jade Empire recently. Like KOTOR, it had a nice twist, and overall was a very enjoyable game. Though I agree that the fighting is too easy at the normal setting. I played through on the open palm path the first time through. I might go back and do it closed fist (although, there is one decision near the end game that will obviously allow you to flip sides if you choose, so I might just do it that way).

Also on my recently finished list is Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. One thing you can count on from splinter cell are missions that make you say "That was so cool." Like using the unconscious body of a guard to disable a laser grid. Or bypassing a garrison by finding crawlspace under the floor. I can't wait for Double Agent. I'm picking up a 360 (now that it's finally in stock) in a few weeks so it will be a nice game to pick up with  it (along with Oblivion, PGR3, and Fight Night Round 3).

Age of...series

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I played age of empires back when it first came out and wasn't a fan of it's micromanagement. In warcraft/starcraft you build a farm and that's all you have to think about for food...Age of empires you have to send out hunting and fishing parties to keep food coming in. I decided to pick it up for my laptop (between flights and all), and did nothing but reinforce my original bad opinion of the game. I also picked up Age of Mythology thinking "This has got to be fun...I LOVE mythology". WRONG. Maybe I'm too quick to judgement but I prefer my RTS with a little less hands on action.

I also picked up Heroes of Might and Magic 4. I was a fan of the Warlords series and figured this would be a good game to pick up and get my turn-based strategy fix. I watched a co-worker play it a few times on trips up to Green Bay and it piqued my interest. I was not disappointed by this game. There are a ton of options for building armies and exploring the land (and of course ultimately vanquishing your foe).

I finally got GTA San Andreas in the mail (it took a full week AFTER they said it was shipped to arrive). It's pretty sweet so far...definitely captures the feel of the 90's gangsta flick. And I think I'll keep it (seeing that it only costs 40 to do so).

Anyway, I just got done finishing up the final requirements spec for my client. If you've never written requirements for an enterprise application, know that it is not a simple task. What this essentially means is that development can start once I get the client's approval on the budget. We've already come to an agreement there so it's essentially a formality.

I hope everyone's father's day was wonderful (whether celebrating for yourself or someone else). I'm about ready to pass out so I'll talk to all later :P

No more excuses...

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Now that I will be racking up frequent flyer miles, I guess I have no excuse anymore for not getting a portable game system. Of course, I have my eyes firmly fixed on a PSP. Although I'm not really buying into the whole "UMD as the next Media format" thing, I think it is cool that --if I choose-- I can pick up Spiderman 2 and a number of other Sony movies to watch on the plane without having to spend another hundred or so dollars to buy a portable dvd player.

Like other people, I was less than impressed by the launch lineup---save for lumines and a few other titles. And the post launch releases have been few and far between...I could always pick up a GBA (the nes retro SP of course)...but then I'd lose out on the advantages of the PSP...the DS isn't even under consideration.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Anybody please?

Returning to PC gaming?

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As many of you may or may not know, my computer is severely outdated. I bought it in 2001 from my employer at the time when it went off lease (which I later discovered wasn't true when I called dell support and was told that they can't help me with it because there is an outstanding bill of 10k for the computers in the lease). At that time it was a three year old computer. So here I am with an 8 year old P3 550 clunker so it is definitely not gaming friendly...I could play warcraft 3 but always lost online matches when my opponent would bring his entire army to my base causing my system to slow to a crawl. By the way this is a huge testament to the state of the computer industry. As a programmer, web developer, graphic designer, and any other hat I've had to wear to keep food on the table I have been able to run everything I need on an 8 year old computer including eclipse, oracle, visual studio.net, photoshop, dreamweaver, crystal reports, and ms office among others.

So, I have been stuck in PC Gaming limbo...no Half Life 2, Doom 3, UT 2004, or any of the other good titles that have been released these past few years. My company decided that I needed a new laptop since I will be at client sites pretty often. I picked up an hp pavilion ze4900. While not the strongest system on the planet, it's good enough to handle some of the newer non-fps titles and I've got my eye on Guild Wars, Sims 2, and WoW. Of course I have my employer's blessing to install any entertainment title I'd like onto the machine (seeing that I'm self employed and all).

If anyone has any recommendations that a reborn pc gamer should pick up, I'm all ears.

Where is Dragonlance?

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One of my first RPG experiences was with Eye Of The Beholder on the pc. It has been recently re-released as a gba title. But nothing beats the original. I also liked the Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale Series released in the mid-90's. All of these are Forgotten Realms games (with frequent cameos by R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden). Back in 2002 I stumbled across a set of Dragonlance books. I remembered the name Dragonlance from playing an old CCG called Spellfire -- basically a clone of Magic: The Gathering with a D&D theme. The game was pretty solid but of course Wizards acquired TSR and did away with Spellfire. Anyway, there was the core game and a handful of expansion sets based on the different D&D worlds, including Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms, and Dark Sun. The cards in each set featured heroes and locals from the worlds. Dragonlance had some of the most interesting hero, effect, and locale cards and the names stuck in my head.

That was in 92...jump forward ten years to me seeing the Dragonlance logo on books hidden in a guest library of a corporate apartment building. Naturally I jumped at the chance to read about the characters who won many a round of Spellfire for me. Within a week I had consumed 1500 pages of Dragonlance goodness and thirsted for more.

As I understand it, Dragonlance was the first D&D expansion and was introduced with the first trilogy of Dragonlance books. RA Salvatore wrote a prologue in the latest Dragonlance novel praising Margaret Weis and noting how she inspired his writing.

So what am I getting at? With all the fanfare surrounding the Dragonlance world and its locales, why hasn't a game based in the Dragonlance world been made yet? Eberron, a brand spanking new world gets two games but DL is still unrepresented in the interactive entertainment world.

I love Forgotten Realms and its denizens. I'm sure Eberron will be a fun place to adventure in, but Dragonlance has so much that can be tapped to make an amazing videogame. Do you hear that Bioware, Obsidian, Atari? Give me a friggin' DL game!

Uplink

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Back in the 80's there was this game called Hacker. The basic premise is that you hack into a system and journey into a world of espionage, intrigue, and subterfuge.

Today I stopped by the bargain bin at compusa to see if I could find something to keep me from being bored out of my mind on an impending business flight (complete with the requisite 3 hour stopover). It was then that I stumbled across a game called Uplink, which immediately made me think of Hacker from its description. So I bought it (at 9 bux) and fired it up.

The game turned out to be everything I thought it would be and more. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a character in a cyberpunk novel, this game is the best legal method to experience that feeling.

You can download a demo at http://www.uplink.co.uk/index.html it's an amazing game, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone.

158 million dollars.

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That's the final tally for Episode 3's first weekend...domestically! Internationally it did over 300 million this weekend. The movie has blown away all sorts of box office records and it's just getting warmed up! All this despite a direct digital version of the movie (which is of higher quality than anything you can see in theaters) being available on the net.

This phenomenon of course supports my theory that if an artist (be it musician, actor, director, or game developer) produces a quality product, piracy will have a negligible impact on their profits. Then again, one has to take into account the fact that it was the final episode...err third episode??? you get the idea...of the Star Wars Saga.

By now you should have seen the movie. So what are your thoughts? Share the wealth. Just watch the spoilers!!!

Once again!!!

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After spoiling the original KOTOR for myself, (but still enjoying it none the less), I've managed to run into a major plot element of its sequel (which in my opinion so far is better than the original but I am only on the second planet). This time it's not even my fault some idiot put the spoiler in his journal without any kind of warning. So despite my best efforts to avoid anything revealing, A stupid post in a journal has managed to blow that effort.

Maybe, I'll just make an effort to pick up the next KOTOR within the first year of its release. :P

By the way Sir Spoilalot, Pod Racer was an excellent game.

THANK YOU George!!!

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All I can say is that Episode 3 was all I hoped it would be and then some! Words cannot explain how good this movie is. Flawless comes to mind. The movie evoked so many emotions on so many levels. This movie focuses on the tragedy of Anakin's fall to the dark side. And tragic it is on so many levels.

This movie is clearly the best of the saga. You can tell that George put a LOT of effort into this movie. Even though it's the middle of the Saga, everything EVERYTHING has been building up to the events in this movie. This includes all the previous movies, all the books, all the games, everything Star Wars pivots on this movie and this movie alone. Even if you're not a star wars fan, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. It is Oscar Worthy.