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1st Impressions: HOMEFRONT

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As much as I enjoy first person shooters, this game reminds me why investing faith into such titles can be a gamble with heartache…

Right off bat, I was excited for the game simply because the story and concept were a wonderful setting for books, movies and now it was playable. The writer, John Milius that is known for such films as Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn was on board, so my interest was peaked. Had the reservation, picked it up day one, got home later that evening with nobody to bother me, embraced the fresh scent of a new game, and was off to adventures!

Pressing start for any new game is quite the pleasure. Figured if I was gonna get the full effect why not start off on hard. Most shooting games have a similar learning curve… don't get shot. The first level was sufficient in explaining the back story, and then you're set on a conveyer belt of exposition revealing the world that's soon to be explored. Everything starts off well, THEN you take control of the main character who is some faceless/voiceless important to the team nobody, and excitement fades. Movement took some adjusting to. Playing so many shooters where the main character actually has some weight within the world (Portal, Modern Warfare, DOOM) I was taken back by the slippery aim and movement. At that moment, it kind of made sense why there was an "aim assist" in the options screen. I trucked on.

Graphically, I wasn't impressed. And usually that line doesn't come from me, nor has it ever been a real deal breaker. Sadly, Homefront suffers from the dreaded invisible barrier nonsense; an unavoidable plague when funneling players from one end of the level to another. Maybe since I started using the HDMI plug in for my TV, my attention to detail has been a little over-zealous. Either way, the character animation for your squad mates and numerous baddies is kind of robotic. Even worse, when moving around the environment there are minor troubles navigating around objects and stairwells. Once again, not a deal breaker… but quite the nuisance.

After mixing for about 3 hours, I reached a good point in the story to stretch and get my samich on. Besides the story being written by a well known person, Homefront was lauded for its online multiplayer action. Something that also peaked my interest in a day one pick up. Any online shooter that isn't Call of Duty gets me excited, simply because I like to think my chances in the online arena improve. Maybe not so much, but it's a nice thought. Five minutes into a ground control match, I quickly realized most of the people who play games like CoD are shooting me every which way -- their gamer profiles confirmed this unfortunate reality. Learning the land of a few maps helped, and my expansive knowledge of shooters told me getting shot is not what the cool kids would do… so I hung back and did some sniping/recon. That plan went out the window pretty quick when everyone and their mother decided to drop missiles through out the level.

Like most popular shooters, Homefront caters to skills, perks, unlockables, and numerous other death dealing advantages. Get on a kill streak and earn everything from faster running speeds to special abilities that allow you to see other players without buying equipment. Every action has a "battle point" value, so while in the thick of it you can use these points to buy equipment (body armor, rocket launchers, drones, etc) that are arranged in the pre-game lobby. It's a fun concept and really motivates one to get involved. Rake in enough points and you can start going nuts by purchasing vehicles.

Since the single player kept vehicle action to a minimum, familiarity is scarce; vehicle controls work mighty well and are easy to pick up though. Acquiring enough points to rampage around in a tank or attack chopper is quite the endeavor online. If your slow on the draw, other players will be freaky fast about taking you out, so coordination among teammates is kind of essential, especially on the much larger 32-player maps.

Overall, Homefront's online game play is solid. If you can stomach the barrage of every military bullet and gizmo raining down on you, the 32-player maps and vehicle action alone is enough for a rental. As for a full price purchase… nnoooot so much. Clocking in barely at 5 hours when the credits rolled, I was feeling sorely burned by the extremely short campaign. Not like this hasn't happened with shooters before, but crunching the numbers basically told me I was paying $10 an hour for a measly 6 chapters of story that could have offered so much more. Epic Fail!

Time to break out that expansion for Dead Space 2

Gaming Dilema #261

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So the new year is here, and with it comes numerous digital gems of entertainment that ranges from TV, movies, and my dearest favorite, good ol' vidders! With my semi-generic resolution cemented for the year(s) ahead, I promised myself that I would FINALLY stop making excuses and cut out all the people/issues that mostly consist of BS in my life... translation -- the perfect "reason" to return to my gamer roots.

As fantastic as these 20+ days into the new year have been, there is an all too familair dilema sneaking through the shadows leading up to this evening...

Could it be the lack of recent sleep? Not possible, that's always been my common curse; and these 5Hour energy shots are freaking amazing!

Maybe it's my new found addiction for NetFlix, which keeps me clicking on endless streams of what not mumbling "just one more..." until long hours of the night. That couldn't be it either, cause the sleep timer on my TV is my best friend, and my true friends know when to cut me off when I get carried away.

No, no. This current dilema has to do with Dead Space 2 releasing the same day I'm required at work the next morning at 6am -- insert WTF here -- Ridiculous, I know... but the truth is, I'm having a hard time imagining myself going home with a brand-spanking new, highly anticapated, well reviewed horror game, I repeat, HORROR GAME (which only functions after 7pm, depending on dinner) being a well mannered individual who clocks into bed without heavy servings of NyQuil just isn't me! :(

No doubt, I'm gonna play the game tonight. I have/want to at least "see" the start menu... my first brand new game of 2011, that's the least I can do for my neglected Xbox, which has shamefully been used more for music and movies rather than actual gaming. Of all this self-induced madness, I also got a copy of Enslaved last week (adventure before horror mixes well) which I'm only half way through as of this recent purchase... translation -- there is gonna be a LOT of sleepness nights ahead. Then there is my double-digit backlog... UGH!

Closing time...

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Metaphor to my 2010?!

So the year is coming to a close, and boy ol' boy has it been a year! Chalk full of fun stuff like the usual sporadic financials, shared living arrangements, hurdles in employment, complicated women, and even a surprisingly large sum of gaming. That last one works in conjunction with my new home and supporting cast, something worth highlighting another time.
Of all my adult-esque woes to potentially bore the curious with, my largest heart ache of 2010 can be credited to the battered and bruised Minnesota Vikings football team. What a big surprise there! For any football fans out there (especially if you hail from winning squads) it's a subject not worth bringing up. Sadly, I live in the state of frigid MN, where I have front row seats to the whole debacle. From the many years of close, but no cigar routine, to the tragic ending of last year's magical season, to the current state of affairs that has the team looking like a lost cause that could very well end up in a different state. It's a tough pill to swallow I tell ya...

The football season hasn't been too kind to my childhood favorites, but at least the NFL season overall has been littered with great games, amazing match up's, and a handful of awesomingly deserving teams -- one of them being the Baltimore Ravens. I like to consider them the other purple pride :P

All football nonsense aside, life has been on a positive swing lately. As much as I enjoy rattling on and on about crap that any normal gamer does their damndest to escape, I have very little to fuss about. And it feels kind of good to say that with a straight face.
My current living situation has me relying on roommates again, which cramps my hermit ways of living, but it's easily excusable when I think about how much dinero I save on living luxuries. Adding to the list of perks, both roomies are hardcore gamers (and partly hermit nerds) like me... so we all get along wonderfully. Playing new vidders hasn't been this accessible to me since I managed a video game shop! If you like to mix online or simply be social, please feel free to message me through Xbox Live. I've also come to adore this Kinect gizmo too. We don't have any games besides the
Adventures one, but it's the most fun I've had with a party game since Mario Kart. Hopefully Microsoft genuinely explores this new and amazing tech, because this could truly be the beginning of something special in the gaming world. One geek officially on board!
A few other titles that have been garnering my limited attention is the new Need for Speed (awesome!), Assasins Creed 2 (roommate has Brotherhood, can't watch), Resonance of Fate (mixed feelings...), and I just saw the XBL release of X-Men from the arcades (legendary and only $10). There are a slew of past titles I would love to revisit too, secretly saving them for a snowed in day... unfortunately, I'm so f'ing tired now a days my left over energy is dedicated to Netflix. LAME!

My attention is scattered to say the least, especially with some pressing issues that need to be addressed before curtains close on the year. Some of the dramatics are in my full control, while a few others are not. And with that painfully acquired knowledge, a few layers of stress peels away... and some how I breath a little (just a little) easier. And I am extremely grateful for that. Not exactly advice per say, but it's the best piece of something I can share with my fellow gamer's; worry about what you can handle, realize not everything can be fixed over night.

I'm not the only one excited... right?

So the weekend is here, and I feel pretty damn good finally sitting down and mingling with my GameSpot peoples. It has been some time since I really soaked up the site, and it's awesome to see the place is still producing good stuff... sort of. I look forward to kicking off the New Year with a lot more consistent activity -- in the mean time -- best wishes to all my online peeps and a happy freaking fantastic 2011 and beyond ;)

Gaming Hypocrisy

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Nearly all my life I've been very open to new stories, odd characters, strange settings, even remakes of original content spark my interest. But the hypocrisy must be addressed if I am to continue on this terrible path.

I use to be a huge Madden fan back in the day, and around the time of 98', that was the last game I truly enjoyed. No doubt, Since the 2000 years, I've played all the Madden's up till this point... I've even reserved copies and picked them up at midnight releases :? Point is, I don't like what the series has been producing (or the lack of)the last few years. Last year was actually pretty good compared to other Madden games, but compared to "other" football games... they are finally catching up!
Another legendary series that comes to mind is Final Fantasy. And man o man have I been knocking on this series for quite some time. Not out of spite or malice, and far from something to bother FF fanatics. I just don't like what lame crap they've been rehashing for SO LONG! Yes, there are numerous variations between each game leading up to the recent title... characters, locations, plots and so forth. Butin all due respects, The rinse and repeat routine is starting to blantly show likesome unnamed Nintendo games.

Yet, even with all the complaining, whining, dismay, and heckling... I now havea copy of FF13 sitting right now in my 360. Waiting for me to get off work and dump another 3 to 4 hours.

Is this condition healthy?! Is there something truly wrong with me... or am I just another victim of needing to know something for myself :question:


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So its been awhile since I actually took a moment to sit down and appreciate my oldest, dearest spot on the web. Hiya doing GameSpot! I see the site is running well and members are posting entertaining editorials as usual. One of my favorite things about this place... hearing what other gamers are thinking, and then being able to see how they converse amongst themselves is pretty cool too. Reviews are good, the layout is working smoothly, hell... the fact that I still have an active account waiting for me to dust off is mucho props enough.
For all my fellow peoples who I've shared thoughts with over the years on here, sorry about the low-key behavior. Life as always knows how to throw some nasty curve balls. And like usual, I turtle up and sort stuff out before projecting myself. Seems that its my best method for maintaining composure. Others may use the online world for venting, I rather portray myself in a respectable way... I'm such a snob :oops:

As for other life happenings, the weather is shifting gears for summer time, family is on the up and up, work is consistent, and I've actually been able to keep up with movies and the gaming world! Maybe not as well as others who reserve and get stuff at midnight (even though I did with Mass Effect 2) my experience with various titles has been great!
Some select choices that really impressed me were Brutal Legend, Wet, Bioshock 2, and even a few bargain bin goodies. Point is, as much as I love me some gaming, the real excitement is building in the sports world. Yes, yes, if I wanna yap about athletics there are plenty of actual sites dedicated to such business... but that never stops me from hoping that fellow gamers are just as excited as I am about their favorite teams.
The NFL draft is right around the corner (hopefully the Vikings pick somebody valuable on the defense), the playoffs for the NBA is next week (no point in mentioning the home team there, my money is on Orlando/Cleveland), and last but not least there is the MLB season cracking open to a fantastic start (GO TWINS!!). Happily, the new outdoors stadium for our baseball team was properly enriched with a big victory. Unfortunately that didn't carry over to today's game, but its a good start none the less! Getting tickets was difficult (June can't come any sooner) but going to the new spot with friends and family is gonna be awesome.

All sports jargon aside, the next few months will be mighty interesting. Warm weather brings out the ladies, new games like Red Dead Redemption are right around the corner, and just about everything else in my wee little world is bumbling along nicely. I miss being able to geek out online like I use to, but as always, its better to take care of business before indulging in pleasure. And with E3 coming up, oh yea... I got some serious geeking out to tend to on here :P

I hope all of GameSpot and my favorite fellow gamers are doing well. Wherever you are in the world or whatever it is you may be dealing with, continue the good fight. Corny, yes. But I can't help myself with all the positive what-not... maybe its a friendly Minnesota thing.

Is there really a human race??

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I have to say, being away from GameSpot for so long is unfortunate, but that doesn't explain why my writing history just up'd and blanked out. That kinda sucks... :?

[-Edit-] Whoops... seems that GS was messing with me again... everything is still intact...

Oh well, the world keeps on turning and everyone continues to game. I might not have online, but some how that didn't stop me from picking up a copy of Modern Warfare 2. Extremely silly of me no doubt, but since my Black Friday mission to pick up a dirt cheap flat-screen TV was unsuccessful, I grabbed the game for 30 bucks instead.
Besides being the same thing I remember MW being amazing at (online that is) the game is pretty fun even through the campaign. Most people play shooters for one portion of the game, I on the other hand adore all the efforts that gone into MW2... its like the perfect Tom Clancy story with tons of toys!

Sitting here at the library with nothing to look forward to this evening kind of deters me from really leaning into this current rant, so I'll keep it brief for anyone crazy enough to keep reading whatever I end up whapping on this germ-infested keyboard. Dragons Age is awesome. The Vikings are still a strong football team. Snow is really not all that bad. Working on your birthday is common, but it still sucks. And last but not least... women... the best way to describe them is like fire. They keep you warm, but they can also burn ya :P

Best wishes to all my fellow gamers as we trudge our way into 2010. I sure miss bs'ing with yaw online.

So there I am...

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...its's about 11:58pm, and I'm standing in line at GameStop waiting to get a copy of Madden10 :? If only my 2K5 brethren could see my shameful buckling...

Surprisingly, I've been playing the game for the last few weeks since it released, and with a few minor hic-ups here and there that urged me to return the game... I'm still some what... enjoying Madden. Being that I have very little else to play could be a major factor in this, but I rather continue praising something I've become so accustom to bashing. This year's addition actually feels like a "new addittion" to the aging series. Besides the standard roster update (which displays some interesting team/player stats) other areas of Madden are finally shining thru. Character animations and gameplay being the biggest highlights for me. If you are familiar with 2K football games, these advancements are some what old news, but highly welcomed in the Madden universe.

As for actually reviewing the game anytime soon... I'm not sure what's my problem! It's been awhile since I actually sat down and wrote anything about videogames. Matt Hazard, Prototype, WoW, Red Faction, Madden, Batman, and a few other gems have been keeping me nice and occupied. I just haven't really been the social type about it. Of course there is the usual life islike a box of chocolatesspiel I could toss around... but I'll be honest... recently breaking up from a 4-year relationship has kind of put me in a nasty funk.
More or less, its been a draining experience. A new one for me, but mighty taxing nonetheless. Its been nearly 2 months now and I'm finally feeling the infection course through my system... which helps by not having any of her stuff around. Living together is something I thought would have bonded us better, and maybe it did work, but the whole moving out routine was real unpleasant. Besides not sleeping in my own bed for about a month (all hail the mighty couch of comfort) she still tends to call me every few days, which is mind-boggling, but it allows the infection to linger. And I don't like that.

Falling in love with someone is easy, especially if you allow them into every aspect of your life. Yet, falling OUT of love with someone is something I've only heard stories about, usually associated with failed marriages. My situation has veryfew complications... no kids, no law binding contracts/documents, no shared possessions, no need for contact. At least I like to think that last one is easy to overcome :roll:
With problems bouncing around months ago, hell, even a few years ago... its safe to say not all things were destined for church bells and white pickett fences. It hurts realizing something like that was apparent long ago, but never really addressing ituntil just recently adds a heafty amount of salt to the wound. I always asked that communication would be our strongest quality, and surprisingly it turned out being the Achiles heel between us. Which is pretty ironic in my eyes. Now that we've seperated, she wants to "talk" and be "friendly".

What a crock of sh!t.

Now its just me and a bunch of sour memories. And my cat Jinger... I've become THAT dude :|

On a positive note, instead of going around sobbing about lost time, I've been trafficking my neighborhood as much as possible with summer coming to a close. Its been a little bite to my wallet (which is foolish of me to think I can afford) but the social scene has been a great way to air my thoughts out. It sucks seeing young couples frollic about happily gazing into eachother's eyes, but I'm getting over that silly crap. I only wish things could have went down smoother in my failed relationship... yet the welcoming glow of someone new and enticing seems like the perfect cure... until I realize thats the worst possible way to approach someone "new". I don't want a new lover anytime soon, much less someone to help me rebound. The things I've learned about myself and what I desire from a partner is nothing to scoff at. What I feel now sucks @ss, but at least the lessons I've picked up along the way will pay their dues when I share the word"love" with another.

Oh well... summer is coming to a close, football is right around the corner, financials and career crap is neutral, and I'm finally breathing a little easier. No drama, less worries, and plenty of room for better days... I'd have to say things could be a lot worse, so I'm all-around appreciative for what I got and how I got it. Hopefully all my fellow gamers had a decent summer... I'd hate to think of the best time of the year bogging down others like my lame @ss :lol:

Feeling the Fallout

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So I recall saying something along the lines of "online isn't as fun as it use to be..." However I worded it, such silly talk is finally starting to catch up with me.

For the last few months I've been managing pretty well without the online hook up that most people of the modern world consider "essential" to living comfortably. The way I computed the lack of online within my personal confines was simple... I could focus more on my writing, artistic endeavors, movies, reading, even soak up the approaching summer season with little distraction.
Sadly, there is still the nagging issue of my inability to sleep like a normal person. Maybe the internet is not the best remedy for someone who suffers from sleepless nights, but it sure did keep me at ease in the wee-hours. Even worse, not being able to scoop up any new titles without a bit of financial sacrifice seems to make this lack of online feel even more terrible!! :?

No doubt, I'm tending to what needs to be done so that life continues to float along peacefully. Yet the reality that I can't simply instant message someone over XBL, or hop on counter-strike to see who's still playing at 3am
just KILLS me!
Another perk to having internet (as if you reading this didn't know) is that you're never short on something to read. Yes, the libraries in my general area are accessible and packed full of hidden goodies, and from time to time I can get online with my laptop at the nearest coffee shop. Problem is... I don't always want to read with clothes on and coffee shops make my clothes wreak of crap that I don't even enjoy drinking! :cry:

Quiet the dillema.

No worries, because the gameplan is in motion. Besides playing used copies of month-old hot'ness, I'm currently saving what little money I have for something I believe will totally cure what ills me... a bigger TV! :P

Minor footnote, I'm still living in the 90's with TV's that still have huge cases and rattling bulbs inside. None of that fancy flat-screen
business on my end... besides my tiny bedroom TV that has a built-in DVD player. Everything else in the home is pretty basic. And as much as I would love to preach on about keeping it old-school without being too retro, this is NOT by choice. I want to evolve! And something about a 40+ inch flat-screen TV before the 2009 NFL season kicks off sounds like a dose of the right stuff.

As I said, saving money is nice and all... but when you have so little to save, much less so little to gloat about while staring at the piggy bank... the odds start to become overwhelming. At least in the dramatic sense.
Not being able to afford new games, renting very few movies, and working too much to enjoy regular programming all point to the question... how the heck will a new TV help?! Simple answer... football in high-def 8)

Not the best logic, but definitely good enough for my puposes.

I got until September to make this happen, and I estimate about 400-600 dollars will be needed to complete such a silly mission. Spending more money or getting a bigger screen is not an option. I need to budget myself, because if I get carried away, I might put myself in a bad financial spot... and that I cannot afford going into the fall/winter season in Minnesota.
Watching the nightly news, re-watching my favorite movies, replaying old videogames, and simply basking in the glory of something new in the living room might not be the most intelligible way in dealing with a lack of online... yet the alternative is pretty reasonable: skip buying a TV altogether and reestablish internet in my home.

I like to think there is a method to my madness :roll:

Beyond my usual monday fantasies, summer is going well for me. I really hope all my fellow gamers are keeping cool and hydrated wherever you are in the world. Insert whichever response fits you best... water/beer, fruit/bratwurst, jogs around the lake/shaded patio gatherings.
With so much focus on my selfish desires and tedious agendas, I am feeling a bit salty about missing out on recent family and friend ocassions. Its not like I'm giving people the finger, but I sure do feel crappy when something comes up on the spur of the moment I'm stuck grimly looking over the calendar. It sucks, but I keep on reminding myself that there is always next time... and the next time... and the next... the feeling starts to drag if you know what I mean.
All in all, these kinds of happenings are common place with the men in my family. Grind to the bone and miss all sorts of parties... but when it comes to the holidays or PTO's... nobody can say a damn thing, even the higher up's! :lol: Common place, but suckey none the less. So like any due who suffers from a supposed mid-life crisis and buys an expensive sports car... I want a new big screen TV. Knowing me and my penny-pinching ways, the money will be saved, the options will be lined up, and moment will come... and I'll likely skip it all together.

Something about NOT spending money unless I truly have to is addictive :oops: I'm like Scrooge McDuck without the pool of money. Sad and comical all in one fatal swoop...

Morality Gut-Check

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So, I finally saw Gran Torino, starring the legendary take-no-sh!t Clint Eastwood. I'm a little late to the party, as usual, but I must say the movie was very entertaining. Besides already hearing numerous good things about the film from critics and close friends, I was pleasantly surprised to see good ol' Mr. Dirty Harry still has his charm. For anyone who hasn't seen the urban drama by now, I'll refrain from spoiling any of the juicy bits… basically, Eastwood is a veteran of the Korean War, bitter about his experiences and overall life, he spends most of the movie spewing racial slurs and exacting justice where he deems suitable.

When I first head about the main plot, it sounded appealing enough to keep me occupied for an hour or so. Then someone told me about the elderly Caucasian star ranting on and on about people of different color and such… this, as an avid movie go-er of all genres was alarming to say the least. No matter how much I enjoy terrible B-movies, its never easy to stomach films or characters who blatantly disrespect other cultures. With that, I reserved my interest in seeing the film, and most fellow fans of cinema assumed I already experienced the aging Eastwood endeavor. Truth is, I either departed from the conversation, or simply came clean with the fact that I haven't seen the movie. To anyone who is superficial enough to be concerned with such details, it would be somewhat difficult to reveal to others that yer slipping on the movie-game. For me, I was turned off by the concept of an elderly Eastwood cleaning up racially diverse neighborhoods with malice and diluted righteous.

If you grew up watching the man kick @ss Bronson-$tyle against inner city street gangs, the transition to neighbor-friendly, racially charged Gran Torino could be… perplexing. Label me naïve :P

Nearly two hours later, I find myself watching the credits and thinking, "this movie could have used a little more focus on a certain subject". Being that I personally have enough troubles as it is keeping focused on subjects while typing much less speaking, being critical wasn't difficult to overcome. As I said, I don't want to spoil the movie for others… but I really felt like Gran Torino opened up on a good note (the younger generation not respecting their elders) and teetered off into a side story that would mostly appeal to neighbors who are accustom to snooping on the world through their curtains...

Bottom line is, a movie about an old white man pissed off about the way his neighborhood is changing doesn't win awards. Instead, you need to grab the audience and drag them along an emotionally tattered story where people connect and see positive change. Without a doubt, Gran Torino offers that. Even though I mentioned such trivial plot-drivers as mere tangents, the overall story really does deliver in a sense that you can relate as a young/old man or woman who has lived in bad neighborhoods. If you're cynical enough, some parts could be considered comical… while many others I like to think are extremely uncomfortable and unfortunately familiar. For any fans of Clint Eastwood, the Redbox (my favorite source for renting movies), or simply urban dramas, check out Gran Torino! It's definitely not a film for little kids, but if you want some insightful teenagers to have a moment of self-reflection through turbulence, give this movie a chance.

As for other matters in life, I've been pretty focused on just living. Watching the NBA Finals (thank you regular cable!!), working when I can and where I can, paying my few bills, eating out WAY too much, and staying entertained with a few games/movies here and there (mostly stuff that's been on the shelf) has been tending well to my insatiable "urges".
I don't need much to keep quiet, especially when I'm lucky enough to afford a few beers in the comforts of my little apartment. To think, there was a time when I would "demand" expensive whiskey and no substitute… and now I'm full of glee simply having clean, cold water. Oh, how a few years can show such dramatic difference in perception and appreciation. Wish I could say the same for my food habits though… something about spoiling my stomach has surely become my kryptonite. Hopefully I don't become over-weight, because then the REAL money/depression problems will blossom! :roll:

I really enjoyed the E3 event of this year… for what I could watch. Being that my laptop (my only means for personal computing) is pretty old and beat up, conferences and interviews were limited. I could have arranged something with a friend's computer, but in all due respect, that's like asking someone to use their underwear. Not my fortay.

On a positive, I can always read up on the gaming happenings of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. July is my last month of subscription with Game Informer, so I'm mighty curious what their layout will be like this year for the E3 blow out. Even with so many gamers turning to the online source as their number one way for updated info (which is logical no doubt) I'm still a sucker for magazines and papers. Never confuse me for a tree-hugger! I strongly believe toilet material is key for the human race to properly "relieve" themselves… next to functioning toilets and waste disposal.

Quick little Brett Favre update for all my fellow football fanatics (as if you haven't heard) the nearly 40-year old QB has gone through with the shoulder surgery, and is currently on schedule with the 4-8 week recovery process. No word yet if he is officially committed to a team (especially the Vikes) or returning to the NFL at all. I know… if I were so concerned with MY TEAM being able to break their loser-mentality, I would deviate from all this silly talk about recruiting a sworn rival for a measly single season of unknown success/disaster. Truth is, the Minnesota Vikings could really use a reliable quarterback.
I see a lot of potential in the team we have going into 2009; something about a well-respected, battle-tested veteran could be the magic glue to help it all come together. My biggest fear though… what about 2010? :| If you dump tons of money and effort into a guy who can barely play one season of football, what does that do to the remaining team… how do you build around that coach?!
The excitement in reaching a Superbowl, or Heaven forbid actually winning one after all these years seems to be the dominant force behind all this Favre drama. And I'm starting to feel the contagious itch! Besides, if Brett really wanted to stay retired he would have opted out of surgery completely and left everyone in the dark… instead, he gets the shoulder surgery, which is damn near a screaming beacon that he's bound for opening season. In the coming months leading up to the NFL opener, I'm really curious how things will play out for Minnesota. We don't have much to cheer for in the sports realm (Vikings = curse, Twins = potential, Wild = effort, Timberwolves = misery, other teams = meh) so I'm really hoping whatever daring gambles our coaching staff make to keep their jobs pulls off… because if it doesn't, welcome to the world of unfair unemployment. You got a spot in line behind me coach Brad Childress… nothing personal…

R.I.P. Brett Favre

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In 2008, the Pittsburg Steelers won a riveting NFL Super Bowl game against the unlikely Arizona Cardinals. Damn near as exciting as the championship game of the previous year, where the New York Giants magnificently defeated the unblemished New England Patriots. With 2009 quietly shifting gears towards another enticing NFL season, every fan of the sport watches, waits, and feverishly anticipates what their favorite teams will do this coming year.

My squad is the Minnesota Vikings.

And yes... yellow can be manly...

As of this moment, Brett Favre, the waning 40-year-old quarterback who is destined for Hall of Fame greatness is once again "debating" his comeback from retirement. And guess whom every sports writer and pigskin fan declares as the obvious choice for such desperate investments… my team, the Vikings. :roll:
For anyone who has followed the Favre-melodrama the last few years, this silly bout of emotional gossip is nothing new. "The love for the game is strong", or "it's so difficult to walk away, couch coaches wouldn't understand", or "who even cares anymore", are all legitimate ways to logically excuse such back-and-forth whiney nonsense. My only suggestion as a hardcore fan of football, and of the man himself – stay retired Mr. Favre, please!

If you are into football as much as I am, the question hovering around the sports world and fans alike is undoubtedly there… "If Dreski is able to cheer for a team (the Vikings) who is accustom to coming up short (losing) so often, why begrudge the idea of bringing in a tried and true veteran (Favre) who can give them a decent shot at the big game (the Super Bowl) for JUST one year???"

Well, I'm happy you asked! Simply put, Brett Farve has been in the league for nearly 20 years – which is most of his adult life – and the man would be mighty wise to avoid further tarnishing his immaculate reputation and overall health. But isn't that something American football players are known and paid for (not the reputation part), resilience and physical endurance? Correct! Since the upgrade from the fashionably useless leather helmets, the NFL has become a catalyst for high-impact action that causes crowds to cringe with awe, or either scream for more broken bones. It's a silly generalization on my part, but the fact stands: people PAY MONEY for healthy able bodies to run up and down the field, ready and willing to smash anything in their path with extreme prejudice.
Brett Favre is 39 years old, and his extreme juice is running on "E". This is not some bitter team/player mud tossing. The man has a torn up shoulder AND bicep (his throwing arm), which needs surgery if he plans on returning to the sport. Medically speaking, the procedure is pretty straightforward and common among athletes who use their arms so much. Within 6 to 8 weeks, Favre (if he returns from retirement, again) could be on the field come week 1, with any team that wants him. Honestly speaking, there is TOO much risk investing in a deteriorating quarterback. His years of experience, enthusiasm for the game, a pass that resembles laser speed, one Super Bowl ring, and a undeniable urge to prove his manly fortitude all sound like a worthwhile gamble. A gamble many are saying Minnesota/Favre-haters would be crazy to pass up on. But what do you do when that legendary figure takes one heaping hit and doesn't bounce back up with a smile? What if he doesn't fully recover from his surgery? Would a few too many wild interceptions be fair for the defense? How do you even begin to justify medical expenses for a double-retiree to Viking supporters; fans who've seen their fair share of semi-useful, partly broken quarterbacks

The current standard in MN quarterbacking... it hurts!

Then there is the monotonous reputation matter. Brett Favre originally hails from one of Minnesota's most adored rivals, the Green Bay Packers. Playing for the cheese-heads pretty much his entire career, Favre has developed a respectable following with the organization and its devote fan base; they basically cheer for him like Michael Jackson of the early 90's. And I can't really blame them… anyone who plays in below 0 weather with ease, picks up heavy linemen after touchdowns, completes 68% of his passes after 16 years, and holds almost every major passing record in the NFL… it's difficult NOT to praise such an awesome player, retired or not.
But that's my whole concern with maintaining a reputable image – its not just about the kids and steroids – you have to be true blue for the team. This is something I think is becoming a lost notion in modern sports, but I'll save that rant for another conversation. Point is, about 2 years ago Favre was clashing with Packers management about his future with the team. Being the quarterback – next to the head coach – you embody every analogy in the book for calling the shots and commanding respect on the field. I'm not clear on every exact detail, but management was nudging Favre to either take an office job, or simply retire. In retrospect, the following year Favre lead the Packers to a 13-3 season and gave them a good run in the playoffs (until he threw a tough comeback-deflating interception).
Instead of riding off into the sunset, the clash with management erupted even further; accept the desk job, or warm the bench, these were number 4's final options in Green Bay. Favre demanded a trade of course, and this is when the venture for joining Minnesota first came to light. Because of legal mumbo-jumbo, the Packers actually had their franchise player locked up through contractual absurdity. So he fought and pleaded his way out of brief retirement, even utilized (unknowingly he claims) the ever-daunting media, all to end up with the New York Jets in 2008. And what a year it was on the East Coast!
Most of the Jets season was in the bag, and they were rocking an 8-3 record that many would credit solely to the Brett Favre phenomenon. This is when bricks started to rain on the picnic. The offensive line was still sour about the previous quarterback being run out of town, the team was operating under a new (passive) head coach, the sub-par defense could only work with what the quarterback arranged for them, the running backs were demanding more opportunities, and apparently the phenom wearing #4 was gradually playing worse with an unnamed injury. Finishing the season at 9-7 (interpret that stat as you see fit), the Jets missed the playoffs by one game, the new coach was fired, locker room gossip was leaking into the media, and Brett Favre reluctantly retired… again. THAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS!! :?

"I don't like this feeling..." Adrian Peterson, after 1st round playoff elimination.

Most of my gripes with Brett Favre joining the Vikings revolve around a theory of malicious-intent on his part; something I believe has lingered over his head for the last few years and finally caught up with him, mentally and physically. In no way would I boo the dude if he dawned the purple (preferably as an assistant of some sort), but I definitely wouldn't be caught wearing his stitched on cash-in number. I really enjoyed watching and cheering for Favre over the years, even when he was squashing my home team. The plethora of potential he could bring to Minnesota or any team for that matter is undeniable, but it has to strictly be with good intentions for the TEAM.
"It's all about winning the Super Bowl!" most would remind me. What player or team doesn't intend on that final result… one who is possibly hell bent on "sticking it" to their old coaching staff. Like I said, it's a theory at best. But something tells me that Favre wasn't too keen on the idea of taking the bench when he still felt strong with Green Bay – so he made his case providing a winning season. Even after such glory, the office gig offered by GB management likely felt like a smack to the face, so why not converse with your neighborly rival and show'em you still got it. Minnesota was rightfully interested in him during this time (being friends with our offensive coordinator helped), but GB wasn't having it, and I doubt they wanted to face off against a scorned play-maker nearly 3 times in a single season. So instead of kicking back with endorsement money flooding out of his commercially popular jeans, Favre relapses. No doubt it was entertaining, even when the Jets went on that terrible losing streak. The man wearing number 4 proved his worth, carried a crippled team, scooped up a few more QB records, hushed his critics, and then excited them with failure. All the while living the dream most football fans can only imagine through video games and fantasy leagues.

How I will always remember #4

Speaking of imagination, assume Brett Favre did join the Minnesota Vikings for the 2009-2010 season. Our hidden piece to the Super Bowl puzzle could finally be revealed. It's not like other teams were completely unsuccessful with veteran QB's: Collins with Tennessee, Warner with Arizona, McNabb with Philadelphia, hell… even Warren Moon did his part with Minnesota back in the day!

Older players have a lot more than war stories and arthritis pains to share. They can easily rally team moral and exude bravado most coaches struggle to establish, especially with the younger pups. Minnesota is chalk full of youthful go-getters who want nothing more than to soak up insightful football tact, and that's not something you can always naturally do without a strong leader. Favre could bring that advantage to Minnesota, IF he's healthy and capable. Even if he wasn't 50% (something a lot Favre-faithfuls refuse to believe), there isn't much the Vikes really need right now besides a competent guy in the QB position. Hand the ball off to the amazing running backs, zip in a few accurate passes to the agile receivers, entrust the O-line with protection, and let the highly rated defense play with some new found confidence.
Sounds pretty cut and dry, but one look around the NFL and all I see is nothing but teams building for "future runs" at the Super Bowl. Nobody wants to attend a team meeting about what they're building towards; everyone wants to win now, and win big. Its not called the Minor Bowl, this I understand. Yet there is something uniquely bothersome about our lack-luster coaches, the billion-dollar owners, the bandwagon fans, and the Vikings legacy as a whole. How do you expect to maintain greatness if you always seek for the quickest fix? With Favre, a chance to improve our record of 10-6 from last season is a strong possibility, one that could even invite debate about legit Super Bowl contention. Without Favre, the purple-people eaters are left to their usual devices: an unreliable QB core, a defense that needs to play perfect every down, a coaching staff with shaky employment, and a fan base that hardly wants to attend their own home games. Kind of a bleak outlook for the purple pride, but if it leads to a stronger, more cohesive group built up by THEIR OWN MERIT, that said team will be more deserving than any jersey-buying fanatic will ever be able to comprehend. And I honestly wouldn't want it any other way! ;)

As for the Mississippi man, he's a hot commodity in the NFL, on or off the field. Staying retired is not his only option; though I truly believe if Brett Favre gears up for another year rather than embrace his wonderful accomplishments, such actions could be extremely detrimental to his career and whatever team he joins. Bottom line is, don't take the Michael Jackson route completely, Mr. Favre… being "remembered" as the king is dandy in concept, but nobody wants to line up to witness a train wreck cloaked in shameless ticket sales.

Please, let me know what you think fellow gamers and sports fans.