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MissLibrarian Blog

Happy 2012 Everyone!

Just wanted to take the time to wish everyone a very happy New Year's Eve/Day/Hogmanay and hope that you all have the most cracking and splendiferous year ahead of you.

A mean suspension meant I couldn't wish you all a Merry Christmas so I hope you all had a lovely day then too.

See you next year :)

What's your attitude towards rape victims?

Did that get your attention? I hope so :P

This is actually a blog that I said would post to help a friend, who is doing her Masters dissertation, and she requires as many people as possible to take her short survey.

It's really not long and takes only a minute or so at most, if any of you are bored at work and have a moment to participate, both she and I would be very grateful. I think more male opinions in particular would help a lot.

Linky:

http://BooRoo.com/s.asp?sid=s3nmzg4s3pyp0wj18458

Thanks guys! Don't let me down please =)

Three-monthly Update Thingy

Well I've been long overdue an update here and kept thinking of random little things to blog about, but it is only now that I have a few to collate together that I've actually bothered to get round to it, hence I shall now commence with rambling.

Firstly I would like to thank anyone who left me one of the lovely comments on my previous blog, your well-wishes were very gratefully received, and helped me out at an extremely unpleasant time. There's not much else to report on that front so I shan't go into it any more here, but this needed to be said, you guys are the sh!z.

Onto the more cheerful topic of gaming. I have been doing very little of this until recently, for various reasons including workloads and a fun spell of hospitalisation, but during some very appreciated time off work I have been thoroughly enjoying myself playing through the campaigns of the Battlefield: Bad Company games.

I've yet to complete BC2 so I shall resist commenting on that game for now, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the general squaddy feel of BC1, and in a strange way I found the storyline more engaging than your average shoot-em-up. For online gaming I have still found myself sticking with good ol'Killzone 2 though, I suppose I like the comfy and familiar in life, plus a friend of my just picked a copy up cheap and we've been having a merry levelling-up race with new profiles.

Unusually for me I have my eye on several new games glistening on the shop shelves as we speak, generally I find there are plenty of older (thus cheaper) games to keep my interest, but Uncharted 3 is calling my name as is Battlefield 3 after my recent exploration into the franchise. Also, with all the talk going round, its hard to resist the the call of Skyrim if only to see what all the fuss is about. Consequently, with the added plus of a Christmas bonus, I hope to get off of - or rather on to - my ass and start partaking in the current market trends.

Other than this there has been very little of any consequence going on with me since my last quarterly newsletter. There was the start, middle and end of a relationship in there somewhere, plus I did a 1000 piece puzzle all by myself in a day. I have been decidedly unimpressed with most of the books I've been reading, sadly, but I did re-read through xkcd's entire archive and fell a little bit in love with him all over again.

Now it's just a half-excited, half-weary skipping lurch towards Christmas, and I am making my list. Checkin it twice and all that.

A busy week lies directly ahead of me, though, as I shall be packing up my travelling case and heading off to forn parts once more. My itchy feet have got the better of me again, so I am off for a brief sojourn with my cousin in London Town, before jetting off to Germany for some continental culture with my sister.

Delighted as I am to be escaping daily drudgery for a time I can't help feeling that, as usual, my precise timing could have been slightly better. While I could have wondered off for weeks before now, and not missed anything out of the ordinary, my arrangements instead happen to coincide with the recent announcement of changes occurring of an interesting nature.

I shall be back before the Second Phase announcement in the first week of December, so I'm sure there will be plenty of intriguing things to be read then, still part of me is loathed to not have one narrowed eye on things at such a time. I shall of course be adopting my usual philosophy of 'let's wait and see what happens', but while I'm away, I hope it's not too ugly for the rest of you.

For now, à bientôt, beautiful people.

Amster-Damned

So, having been to and returned from Germany in one piece (albeit completely stuffed full of sausage in the entirely innocent way), I am once again off for another jaunt on the continent. This time to the 'Venice of the North' - Amsterdam.

Being as I have been twice before I am already familiar with the utter delights that this beautiful city has to offer. By which, of course, I mean the amazing museums and galleries. I am such a clean-cut, well-behaved young lady that of course I would not dream to partake of any of the unholy sins that are on offer, nor that are even mentionable on this site *ahem*.

The one thing I am rather displeased with, however, is that I shall be away until the 4th of April - thereby missing the somewhat anticipated and also dreaded April Fools Day. Mind you, after last year, I am not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing! What sort of malicious, dastardly tricks do the Mods have up their sleeves this year, I wonder?

Maybe I'm better out of it, but then, I might miss the opportunity for a sweet emblem! :cry:

If anyone can be bothered, please keep me up to date here if and when the proverbial s*** hits the fan, I want to be able to read all the juicy gossip when I get back! In the mean time I bid y'all adieu. I'm sure the gaping hole my departure leaves amongst you will heal in time.

Now, where did I put my Rizl... ah, I mean, er... rucksack?

:P

How To Measure Self-Control

My Killzone 3 Collector's Edition arrived today! Arrghh!

It's the first time I've ever received a pre-ordered game the day before the release date, and ordinarily I'd be ripping of the wrapper like an excited child at Christmas, but since I am going away to the land of beer and bratwurst tomorrow I feel I must save it for when I get back.

I'd rather be able to sit and play it constantly for a few days rather than starting it now and finishing it up four days later. Consequently it is sitting mere inches from my left hand as I type, winking at me from inside its shrink-wrap wrapper, begging me to open it up like an oyster with a pearl inside.

It's not all bad, however, since I have been playing through Uncharted 2, and have very nearly finished. At least I can use Nate Drake's last few chapters to scratch my gaming itch today!

Going off on a tangent I really have thoroughly enjoyed playing the Uncharted games, especially the sequel, I can easily see why Uncharted 2 is a favourite game for many PS3 owners. What can I say that hasn't been said before? It's funny, the graphics are stunning, the variety of scrapes that Drake gets into are excellent. It's a really amazing game - I completely agree with you all! :P Uncharted 3 is now a must buy for me.

So I'll be cracking on with that now while the torture of resisting Killzone 3 continues. It's painful.

But at least I know I'll be able to take out my frustration on those red-eyed hooligans as soon as I get back.

It's My Birthday

And I am now 25. It's the one day of the year I really have to think about not saying 'you too!' all the time.

I have arranged for you all to have 25 shots each as a celebration. Enjoy x

Let's have a game with happy and sad music...

Or rather, let's ignore the unrelated blog title, and instead have a game of 'Who Loves Their Sister?'

A bit about my sister to begin with. She's my only sibling, five years older than me, and though I am very biased there are many who would say she is one of the nicest people on the planet. Nothing is too small, nor too big, for her to help with if at all required. She does a lot of things for a lot of people without even thinking, and is simply unfailingly kind, a remarkable trait which is something that I personally try to aspire to - rather than having it come naturally like some people I know.

She is also sickeningly intelligent and last year gained her PhD.

As a more stubborn and bitterly-minded person than her it would be easy to fall into the role of dissolute and envious second child, maybe even the teeniest bit of that side of me has shown already in this blog, but it's a lie actually. Because it turns out I love her more than almost anything and to my surprise, a few days ago, I lived through undeniable proof of it.

A little more background. Despite being so wonderful as I have described her, for a long time she remained firmly alone on the romance front, certainly all the while that I was in a five year long relationship I hoped that she could find someone too. Anyway the end of it was she did find someone, a very fine chap indeed, who just so happens to be German. Not exactly what I expected for her, but he makes her happy and loves her very much, and her flexible job and cheap flights make a seemingly difficult relationship very easy. She is finally very happy and I am happy for her.

This is all very nice and blah blah but what the hell has it got to do with anything? Well I'm getting to that.

This month I am going to be 25, and next month she is turning 30. While I don't really care much for birthdays, she enjoys making a fuss, and doing something memorable. Since it's her 30th and all, she wanted very much for a group of her closest friends to travel to Germany, her boyfriend lives in Essen and she has obviously spent a lot of time there over the last year or two. She'd like us to see the places that are special and mean a lot to her. Of course she wanted me to go especially since, for various reasons, my parents can't.

Her birthday is the 12th of February, and it was decided that a group of about 8 of us would go to Germany the following weekend, from the 18th to the 21st. I knew that I wasn't working that weekend and although I had work Monday evening, and would have to go there straight from the airport, I'd live through it. All was set.

But no. A few days ago I found myself with her in my room, telling me how because of this and that we couldn't go that particular weekend, but everyone else could go the weekend after. Could I? Did I have work? Could I get the time off?

At first I might have mumbled something about having to check in my diary - but it was all lies. I knew. I knew instantly. I knew that I didn't have work that weekend. I knew I had booked it off months and months ago. I felt my heart racing.

But there she was, hands clasped together in hope and desperation, muttering something about if I could let her know as soon as I might be able then she could book the flights. I looked into her hopeful eyes, thinking about all the things she'd done for me, and how much she desperately wanted me to be able to go. I felt my selfishness, sitting on my shoulder like a little red devil, desperately trying to force my mouth to lie.

But I didn't. I told her I was free. The woops and hug I got after she booked the flights were enough to let me know that, of course, I'd done the right thing. Damn it!

So I'll be leaving for Germany on Friday morning of the last weekend of February. Probably about the time the postman will be arriving.

Why does any of this matter?

It's February 25th - 28th.

I really MUST love her.

(Thank God I booked til the 7th March off :P)

The Very Substance of the Ambitious is Merely the Shadow of a Dream...

...as William Shakespeare once put it.

And so - after many many frustrated moments, aching wrists, thousands of slashes with the phenomenal knife and enough bitterly hollered curse words to make even the most stalwart grandmother blush to her bloomers - the Killzone 2 Platinum trophy is finally mine.

Anyone who might have taken the slightest interest in my gaming 'career' will know that this was a long time coming, and that rightly I am grinning ear-to-ear because of this rather significant achievement. But when it came down to announcing it through the self-satisfying method of a celebratory blog, it occurred to me that this means so much more to me than just your average gaming award.

There are several obvious reasons why this is the case: Firstly, it is a rather notorious trophy to attain in any case. Also, the sheer amount of time I've invested in the game means that the rewards are that much sweeter. And - a nice landmark - it is the first platinum I have actually gotten, meaning I no longer have a big, fat zero on my trophy card.

But there's something more to it than even these fairly superficial pluses. When I posted my last blog entry, after finally getting into the top 1% of online players, I spent a bit of time afterwards reading through the previous ramblings I had submitted for the general interest and amusement of the GS community. And one entry in particular drew my eye, posted way back in March 2009, titled simply 'Musings on the New Acquisition'.

It's a rather long entry compared to the others I've tapped out from time to time, and is based around my thoughts and feelings following the joint purchase of my first PS3, a beautiful glossy 80gb phattie which I sadly had to kiss goodbye when a more complex human relationship went south. Since it was a while ago - long before I became acquainted with many of the people I am lucky enough to count as friends here - it is quite likely that some of you taking the time to read this were not even aware of the existence of this long-ago composed bit of faff.

But, reading through it, it shows more than anything else the shadow of a dream which was the substance behind my Killzone 2 Platinum ambitions.

Although I have been a gamer from a very early age - my first vivid memory being the Christmas of 1992, when I unwrapped my big grey Gameboy with all the ecstatic excitement of a wonderfully surprised 6 year old - I was, and remained, 'firmly and determinedly anti-analogue' until well into my 20s. Until, in fact, my first PS3 came into my life. And then, as the March 09 blog describes, I dived headfirst into my baptism of fire.

(It always seems a bit poncey quoting oneself, but I hope you will forgive me, since I doubt I could reiterate the event anywhere near as gloriously as I did back then!)

What game was it, you may well ask, which I chose as the gateway into 3rd Gen and 3D gaming-proper? Quite simply I must admit that I began my 'grown up' gaming career by tentatively wobbling into the blood-seeped arena that is Killzone 2's online 'Warzone'. Oh yes. No waiting to even play the actual game for me! Not my best ever idea.

...As I'm sure you can imagine, it was a massacre. Even playing within my own rank I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at my futile attempts to appear even slightly in control - all to no avail. I had no knowledge of the maps, I didn't have a *clue* what I was supposed to do for each objective, and I had never tried to manipulate even a menu using the analogue sticks before. No words can express the total fail which was my newbish attempts to master the infamous controls of Killzone 2. Instead I shall put it in numbers:

Total length of time I spent playing online for the first time: Approx. 9 hours.

Total number of kills in that time: 118.

Total number of times killed in that time: 649.

*facedesk* That works out at approximately 5.5 deaths for every kill. What must have I looked liked as I glitched my way around the place like an erratic madwoman, running into places and spraying bullets til I crumpled into blood-spattered monochrome? More than one opponent stood still, watching while I spun about fighting with myself and the controller in a desperate attempt to aim at them, only to have them shoot me cleanly in the face once my dance of desperation had finally ended with my facing in their general direction.MissLibrarian 27th March 2009

:lol: Even reading it now, the absolute failure is still both cripplingly embarrassing and hilariously amusing to me. With the significantly greater knowledge of 3rd Gen gaming I have accrued since then, the absolute brass-balls of this initiation is even more poignant. The 'blood-seeped arena' of Killzone 2 Online is still more than enough to send some of the most hard-core gamers cowering for the corner.

But it turns out that this act of blind self-destruction was the most significant gaming event of my life, since I saved up my pocket-money for four months to buy Road Rash II for the Megadrive when I was about nine, anyway. It was the start of a journey which lasted over a year - the path of dogged determination which led me from the absolute epitome of noobishness to the unbelievably sweet victory of being an acknowledged master.

There were plenty of times that I wanted to give up in a fit of controller-tossing rage. More than one person, I know, wondered on some level why on earth I was bothering with it at all. There are plenty of other games out there, they told me. Why stress yourself about this one? There were times enough when I questioned myself as well. I certainly have built up a nice collection of games (that I can finally now move on to!) which I optimistically felt I could give a go when in the shop with money to burn - only to find myself reaching for the Killzone 2 box every time I got home, regardless.

Thinking about it now, though, the answer really is a very simple one. And comes out in sharp relief when you consider one particular section of my old blog entry:

I may not really be able to play it at the minute, but I've always liked a challenge. This leads me to the most important thing I feel about this game right now:

I want more! It keeps me coming back. I am determined to master this game although I know realistically it will take *months* of my time - time I am willing to invest. The platinum trophy seems as achievable to me as an Olympic Gold right now, but I know it's coming, one day. MissLibrarian 27th March 2009

And come to me it did.

Yes, it did indeed take months. Seventeen of them, in fact. Months during which I faced significant real-life events, some good and most of them bad, but all of them affecting in some way. Meanwhile, all the time I was chip-chipping away at a self-promised goal, bit by bit. At the times when I felt like life was biting me in the butt, it was escapism. When life was going well, it sometimes felt like an endless chore which would never, ever be completed. Like ironing. But like a best friend who lives in a distant country, just knowing that it existed when I needed it was often enough.

And I realise now that, really, this quiet determination is the very core of what gaming is all about. Perhaps it is the retro-gamer in me that makes me think this way - the type of gamer who knows the intense frustration of having no save option, and investing hours and hours of straight gameplay only to be rewarded (if you were skilled enough to actually complete a game) with a screen that says 'Game Over'. Or, if you were lucky, 'The End'.

But the halcyon feeling of seeing that end-screen was always second to none.

Yes, games are fun to play, and it can be argued that it's not the winning, but the taking part that counts. And that is true - none of us would bother with the things if they weren't entertaining. But really we all know that the real fun comes from the raw determination to solve that annoying puzzle... to find that last annoying symbol or hidden item... and to eventually beat the Boss.

The true essence of gaming, I have realised today, is the moment when - like an Olympic Champion standing on the podium - you place (not throw!) your controller down, sit back in your chair, light a smoke and say;

Yep. I did it.

Happy, happy day.

The weather has been absolutely stunning and I have loved gazing out at the wonder that is nature...

...with quick, furtive glances during the loading screens between the Killzone 2 online matches.

And today I got my Valor Grand Cross trophy, or in other words, I made it into the top 1% of Killzone 2 online players for the last week. I got a shimmery gold trophy and a very handsome red ribbon. And I am grinning from ear to ear.

Here are my vital stats for the past week:

Overall rank: 197

Score: 9954

Kills: 2920

Team kills: 0

Deaths: 2668

Suicides: 6

Headshots: 739

Unfortunately I have work in the morning, otherwise I might have stayed up all night in a small sort of celebration.

I am surprising tired now, but that might be because I've not eaten anything today :lol:

And now for the platinum, and hopefully that shouldn't be too hard, since all I have left to do is the joyful task of finishing the campaign on elite. Fun :P

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