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Stevo_the_gamer Blog

The New Gamespot

The Awesome;

  • Being able to finally have a decent mobile system so we can use our phones to post on the forums.
  • Notification feature!
  • Tables in posts!

The good;

  • PM system upgrade
  • Overall site aesthetics
  • Second take reviews
  • Number of views on each topic

Nitpicky and bad;

  • Forum name under each topic. A little redundant?
  • The number of new posts in each topic is gone. :(
  • No emoticons.
  • Longer usernames aren't completely displayed under the avy.

Ugly;

  • Daily Updates page from the news feed is no more.
  • Navigating entire list of game reviews for any platform is a chore.

With the Seventh Generation Coming to a Close... Part 1

I believe it's time to reflect on some of my favorite gaming memories and games on the Xbox 360, Wii and PS3. I was a launch adopter of the Xbox 360 as I waiting overnight in front of Sams Club with a friend and my brother--all three of us bought Xbox 360 Premium bundles. I bought the PS3 40GB console initially when it first came out in 2008, and the Wii in early 2010 I believe. So anyways, without further ago, here are some of my favorite games of the generation starting from the top. I'll keep it to three games per year or less.


2005; Xbox 360 Launch


 

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Call of Duty 2

This was my first step into the Call of Duty universe and boy was it a fun one. It was one of the first multiplayer games on the console that I played for many hours on end. The sound, presentation and game design was exceedingly good. But the best part was the game was so smooth to play, and that's what made it so much fun.

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Condemned: Criminal Origins

A creepy, and dark game from Monolith (guys that brought us FEAR), Condemned was one of those first games that I couldn't put down. I liked the investigative side of it, and the melee combat throughout the game. There were surprises and jumps for me (and a younger lad) around many corners but it was so worth it. The atmosphere was top-notch and the brutal combat was just overall insane. Best of all... hunting down a serial killer can be rivieting, creepy, but most of all... fun.

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Dead or Alive 4

I'll be honest, I'm not a big fan of fighter games because I always tend to button-smash. I can't counter for crap, and I'm always the guy who rage quites wondering he's getting his ass kicked when all he does it press two or three buttons repeatedly. I thought this game was tough, and getting through it to unlock many of characters was very tough. So tough in that I may have almost threw a couple controllers. It was fun though, and I enjoyed the silly and at times (inappropriate) combat. And hey, it had a Spartan from Halo! Woah!


2006


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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

This was the first game that made me go, "wow, this is the next generation for console games!" The others games I had played looked good but this was the first game to make me go, "wow!" I've always been one to love tactical shooters and the singleplayer for GRAW was just awesome. The explosions and sound especially were aspects to write home about, and especially the on-rails machine gunner parts (AWESOME). And when the singleplayer was done with, the multiplayer was there to kick some more ass. 

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Gears of War

The first blockbuster title to release for the Xbox 360 and it really did rock people's socks off. This new IP from Epic was something to behold to as the singleplayer and multiplayer ended up being exceedingly fantastic. It was a dark, gritty, and bloody game... but who doesn't like having a chainsaw on a machine gun to use in cutting a someone or thing in half? This game was the game to get back in the day.

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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Oblivion was my first step into an open-world RPG game. It was a mere fluke that I decided to rent it from Gamefly at the end of my subcription, and I only had three days to play it until I had to send it back. So you can imagine my surprise and wonder when at the end of that three days I went out and bought the game because I couldn't put it down! I may have sunk over 600-800 hours into this game, and I know one my characters (I had many) had well over 280+ hours onto it. This was my game of the year by far with nothing coming close. No game came close to giving me the immersion that I felt with Oblivion. 


Gun Control

It appears this discussion has only recently came to be because of the mass murder incidents in the States. Truly it makes sense, just like there was a craze during the 70s and 80s with respect to our fascination and interest in serial offenders that the same would be true for these incidents. You have a story that is sensationalized and with that comes the emotional attachment of political involvement. It's never healthy for society to let politicians become the experts for large social constructs like guns. 

I get the reaction, I get why someone like Giffords would be interjected into the limelight to push the anti-gun mantra. You need a mascot for this, and she's a good puppet to choose for this because of her history. Indeed, on the flipside, the gun-activists need a scapegoat to levy blame for, and the obvious choice remains media-entertainment. That puppet on its strings however has been played so much that it can't dance no more, yet they hope that dead horse can still be beaten once more.

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Media involvement has been essential to human connection for the past couple decades in the States, and yet violent crime has consistently gone down (a trend that has been going on for three decades). Guns are seen as a tool of religion -- not religion in the literal sense, but in the mantra of a strong belief following. It's an integral piece of society that has been around since the dawn of our nation's seed when pilgrims landed on North American soil. This has played to its benefit, and to its detriment at times.

The gun's sole purpose was and is to inflict bodily harm and injury to a person or thing. It's a human construct incorporating metallic pieces, and relatively explosive material to propel a projectile towards a given aimpoint. Alright, I'm not here to debate the underlying means of this object for its purpose is plainly rooted in the ground, and to try to aim away from that is disingenuous in nature. The point remains the obvious: the object requires human input for its purpose to be initiated; it's not an inherently evil object, yet the conductor's input can be.

I understand the anger from a mass murder of children--the media coverage of that event being a circus for days showcases that we care about these things. I was in a Criminology class when the news came to light, and the initial reports were only a few killed. When the class was dismissed and I turned into NPR to get the latest scoops, the numbers balooned to over 20 children killed. This news turned my stomach; it made me sick. The sheer thought of a man entering a classroom with children and opening fire is simply unfathomable. 

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It's clear that this individual had pyschological issues, and the means of helping these individuals is shaky at best in society. The discussion didn't turn in that direction, it turned to guns. The question is why? The arguments would be that it's simpy too dificult to understand and explain the pychological issues that led to the mass murder, so labeling the weapon as the problem is clean and it's easy. The other side is that politically involved individuals have clear motives to target the banning of weapons, so an incident like this becomes a billboard for their underlying motives.

It's clear that behind these incidents that psychological issues are to blame. Within the past half-century we have closed our mental asylums and removed integral means of support. Prisons are being the de-facto means of psychological-mental-illness support which is disgraceful to the individuals involved, and the overall image of health for our society. Communities need to give ample safety nets for these individuals and help the parents of the children who face these mental illnesses. A good read that is a necessity to digest is this article about a mother struggling with her son; just how many more mothers out there are like this?

To go off track a second here, I need to remind my readers that I am not objective in this manner for I have a strong history with guns in my life. I grew up in a family who loved the outdoors and loved hunting. I received my hunting license at the age of twelve, and went hunting then after but I was still involved in watching the hunting before that age. I received a 20-gauge shotgun, and my grandfather's 30/30 Hunting Rifle which was my father's at one point. I've been hunting and shooting for over a decade now, so guns have been just another facet of my life. The question that begs an answer to me is why target me and my family?

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Responsibility is one of the greatest characteristics a gun-owner is taught either by the respective family members, or by upper echelon authorities. My hunting license class was eight hours long if I recall correctly, and most of that was on safety. It's the same logic and ideas that is expressed when an individual learns to drive a vehicle. Which brings me to my main point; selective targeting. Do we punish all car owners in the States when a drunk driver, or incompetent driver takes a life? The answer to that is no, although I imagine arguments can be made with respect to insurance policies (but that's a private take by companies, not a political maneuver).

To throw out some numbers to give credence to my point, 250K children are injured from car accidents annually with 2K fatalities. The CDC notes that over 33K people overall died from vehicle related incidents. On the flipside, the CDC noted similar deaths overall from guns. For children, injuries by guns are around 1K, and deaths less than or around 400. Children are typically a poster for messages and movements, yet politics are quickly intertwined with guns only selectively.

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Don't let me sway you in the direction that I believe gun violence isn't a big deal, for even hundreds of children to die from weapons is unacceptable, and even more unacceptable that tens of thousands die from guns. We need to address our culture in how it's handled, more safety training and more responsibility is key. It's about who people surround themselves with, and how much integrity and responsibility they carry with themselves. Nevertheless, I think politicians should stop politicizing the issue of guns and not selectively focus on it when a mass event happens.

Perspective is needed, release the tunnel vision and stop politicizing. Wake up. Seriously.

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TL;DR Version -- Politicians are exploiting guns for their underlying motives; they selectively target the construct and ignore other larger problems facing society. Guns are only tools, the real means is addressing the handler of the tools. 

 

Merry Christmas

Just woke up about thirty minutes ago, as my fiance and I had our own little Christmas at midnight. Since we're in the Midwest right now, and all of our family is back in California, this might be the first and only Christmas where it's truly just the two of us all Christmas Eve and all Christmas day. That's both equally good and bad. I do miss my family, and wished I could spent time with them (and my wonderfully old dog), but I decided it was just too costly to visit. Besides, I graduate from College in May so I'll be back home at the end of May to Early June--that's not too far away, right?

Anyways, my fiance had some awesome gifts for me--additional 8GB of ram (I'm now at 16GB, a bit overkill lol), a 200mm red fan to replace my 120mm side intake fan on my HAF 922, the Lord of the Rings Extended Blu-ray Collection (OMGWTFYES), a cell phone case (really needed that), and Far Cry 3 on PC. A nice Christmas.

We spent the night watching The Fellowship of the Ring Extended up till 5:30AM. lol These extended versions are fantastic, the extra scenes flow so seemlessly that I can't even remember which is extra and which is meant to be there. It's been many years since I've sat down and watched these bad-boys but I'm excited to watch the Two Towers tonight, and the greatest film of all time tomorrow... the Return of the King.

Merry Christmas guys, and gals. What was the best thing you took away?

Favorite GOTYs So Far and What I look Forward to the Most.

- Favorite Games of the Year So Far -

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Mass Effect 3;

While the ending left a sour taste, it managed to captivate me for the entire game. Few games can have me so invested into the experience, and I had a very hard time letting Mass Effect 3 go. I even thought about the game at work, how crazy is that? The gameplay was nailed down to a tooth, and the sound/voice acting was terrific. The storytelling and progression through the game was so immersive that I found myself playing for very long stretches of time (one stretch lasted an entire dang eight hours; I mean... wow). Few games have managed to wow me so much, and the most amazing part is how it all fell on its face with the ending. Still scratching my head about that one.


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Fall of the Samurai;

The stand alone expansion to Shogun 2 really raised the bar above and beyond what was found in Shogun 2. Modern units made for some incredibly exciting gameplay; especially when you're able to call in a costal bombardment onto your enemies while on the battlefield (sa-weeet). I've known a few times where the costal bombardment from my ships literally saved my ass. Unique units adds some much needed variety, and the cannons are now a must to ensure victory without epic losses. All in all, playing this meant I would end up investing three hours at a time whenever I played it. Watching a small town grow into an expansive empire... delicious.


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Minecraft;

Ah yes, Minecraft on the Xbox 360. I was late getting into the "Minecraft" craze always wondering what the fuss was all about. Subtle trolling my fellow GUFU members on the IRC to see why they invested so much time into it. It was strange to me how so much fun could be had in what appeared to be a relatively shockingly simple game. I figured I would give it a try once it came to the Xbox, so I downloaded the trial, and loved it. Spent 90+ hours on the Xbox version and then bought the PC version to see how that faired... and boy when I thought Minecraft on Xbox 360 was awesome, the PC version took that awesome and multiplied it by a thousandfold. Now, my fiance gives me crap about playing the game. Oh well, it's fun as hell and now I anticipate every new update that comes!


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Gods and Kings;

The first expansion to release for Civilzations was a goodie. The anticipayed religion debut (again) after it was removed is very balanced, and well executed. Much better than what it was in Civilizations IV, which made diplomacy rather stale and predictable. This changes things up a bit while at the same time benefiting the game as a whole. There wasn't a lot of new content here, but the new civilizations, units, and religion made an already great game even better. Now, if only they could alleviate some of the AI issues that still plagues the game--but I suppose that's been there since the start...


- Games I'm looking forward too for the Rest of the Year -

NBA 2K13

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Doom 3 BF3 Edition

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Halo 4

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Hitman: Absolution

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Big News All Around.

First off; she said yes. :]

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Secondly, I'll have my Intel Core i5 3570K come in the mail this Friday!

Because my new motherboard and ram need a processor!

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