I am not generally a man of infinite patience... sure there are times when I can repeat actions over and over and over to collect an Achievement, or to build up stats in a game to eventually get to an Achievement... but when it comes to something that makes me fume I have no patience at all.
Its the reason why, at work, I'm never given the task of looking after the work experience kids we sometimes get, or mentoring any new starters... I've been doing the job for close to 26 years and I struggle to comprehend how come some spotty 17 year old doesn't know the basics of accountancy.
When I play cricket I get frustrated when a team mate drops a catch, or fumbles a ball in the field because I believe I could have done better... even though, at the minute, I'm hobbling around having pulled my right calf muscle.
Patience is not something I am blessed with.
So... when my third copy of Halo 3 starts to give me the same dreadful "Disk Unreadable" message as the two previous copies I really started to seethe.
The disk is spotless, immaculate, not even the merest hint of a scratch like the first two copies, it looks so pristine that you'd easily believe it to be a brand new copy.
Again I tried installing the game to the hard drive and still it persists... it just won't let me play more than a level.
My confidence in the game is shattered, when I do get to play I'm saving too often in case it throws a tantrum and refuses to let me play... when I try and reload after the save (because Halo games only have a "Save and Quit" option) I'm stuffed, yes I've saved the game... but I'm not getting anywhere after that.
So... after another unsuccessful install and an hour of removing the disk, cleaning the disk, re-inserting the disk and trying again... I give up... another game to add to my list of started but never finished.
And let's look at that list:
[color=yellow]F.E.A.R. - 6 Achievements for 25 Points[/color]
The demo of this was so much better than the finished article, it wasn't the dull corridor shooter that the main game turned out to be, and for someone who isn't usually a fan of the first person genre, that counts for a lot.
The demo was varied, had a few "shocks" as the story was hinted at throughout... but when you get into the game it becomes dull, repetitive... not one I regret not finishing.
[color=yellow]Devil May Cry 4 - 3 Achievements for 30 Points[/color]
This gave me a couple of hours of solid enjoyment... and that was it... I loved the first game when it was released on the PS2 but back then I wasn't expecting as much from a game as I do now... and aside from a graphical polish Devil May Cry hasn't progressed that much from the first game all those years ago.
[color=yellow]Project Gotham Racing 3 - 2 Achievements for 20 Points[/color]
This was a mistake that I should never have made... on the original Xbox the original Project Gotham was a launch title that was more than passable but suffered from a massive difficulty spike part way through... Project Gotham 2 was much more accomplished... I should have waited for Project Gotham 4.
Here all the cars had to be capable of 200mph+ to be included and I sort of missed the gentle easing into the super cars of previous versions.
[color=yellow]Resident Evil Code Veronica - 1 Achievement for 50 Points[/color]
My all-time favourite Resident Evil title was downloaded and started, and will one day be completed... but it's no longer the graphical wonder it once was, the control system is shown as being out of date and you can see that they needed to update it for future titles... I need to be in the right mood to go back to this.
[color=yellow]Deadly Premonition - 1 Achievement for 50 Points[/color]
With Resident Evil surrendering the "Survival Horror" crown without some much as a zombified lunge at the opposition this could have filled the gap left by the slow shuffle of Capcom's giant title towards "Cover Shooter" mediocrity.
Add in a bit of "Twin Peaks" and the story looked a good one... it may well be, but the control set up was horrible, even worse than Code Veronica, totally horrible to play... the graphics are poor even for a PS2 title but that can be overlooked if the control system had been tweaked properly before release.
[color=yellow]Resonance of Fate - 7 Achievements for 85 Points[/color]
Tri-Ace are/were, apparently, a giant amongst JRPG circles... yet we don't seem to get on.
Infinite Undiscovery was a mess that looked like it had been rushed out to meet a deadline, Star Ocean looked the business and had a futuristic setting which is always a plus for me... but became a grind towards the end and the disk swapping at the end was a joke.
Here the game just tries too many things, scratch damage and real damage... not good, having to unlock hexagonal shapes to move around the map... why?
[color=yellow]Lost Planet - 6 Achievements for 105 Points[/color]
Another Capcom game... and another case of too little variety to make you want to continue... and the whole planet being covered in snow and ice did not help... and however heard of a hero called Wayne?
I tried to like it, some of the boss battles were passable but the journey to get to each of them was too dull to make it worth taking on.
[color=yellow]Dead Rising - 6 Achievements for 120 Points[/color]
Hello Capcom... hello another good idea handicapped by bad ones.
Only one save file? Weapons that break even though they're made of steel? Making the sodding game so freaking hard you have to replay huge sections over and over to level up sufficiently to make it even remotely playable?
When the 360 was still in development it was screen shots of Dead Rising that showed the leap in the power of the console from the last generation, hundreds of zombies running around at once, only you're so inept (at any level lower than say 20 minimum) to handle more than a couple at once... when it came to it I just couldn't bring myself to replay the opening sections over and over and over.
[color=yellow]Dead Space - 11 Achievements for 150 Points[/color]
Still looking for a "Survival Horror" title to fill the vacuum left by Resident Evil's retirement this was more like it... except, for me, the game was killed by the placement of the camera... way too close to be useful, too much of the screen was obscured.
I really wanted to like this, I was still yearning for some scary gaming... and it almost delivered... oh for a movable camera.
[color=yellow]Brutal Legend - 17 Achievements for 280 Points[/color]
This was promising... heavy metal music, a superb voice cast and a great (if silly) story... and then they slapped in some Real Time Strategy levels that killed it stone cold dead.
[color=yellow]Prey - 18 Achievements for 360 Points[/color]
This was the first game I played on my 360... because I knew that when I put Oblivion into the disk try it'd be there for weeks.
A brightly coloured first person shooter that messed around with gravity, a nice touch, not being killed but merely being sent to the spirit world to recharge a little... even better... but it got dull.
Not being a first person shooter fan didnt help me here... what I played was enjoyable enough, but it's just not my type of game... I do get tempted occasionally to buy the game again and replay it... but when would I get the time to play it? Although checking out TrueAchievements.com I was only a handful of levels from the end.
[color=yellow]August 6th:[/color] Following the discovery that I was actually rather close to the end of Prey a quick check of Ebay shows that the game is going for pennies... so I resolve to buy the game back and replay the whole game through... it may not have been the best shooter out there but it was fun and knowing I was that close (per the Achievements there are 22 Levels and Id done 17 when I called it a day) to the end I feel like I talked myself out of an ending.
I also check Xbox Live and see that I can actually download Halo 3 to my Hard Drive so the "Disk Unreadable" message would be a thing of the past, I wouldn't have to worry about the game crashing because it would never have to read the disk... only it's £14.99 which is more than I paid for the 3 copies that have failed to work properly.
To cheer myself up I go for some simple Achievements and splash out the rest of my Microsoft points on the two Monkey Island games, I remember playing these during my lunch times back in the early 1990's and with the graphical update the games are still fun to play... while I consider spending way too much money on a download for a game I can buy brand new for £7.85
[color=yellow]August 7th:[/color] Today was traumatic... I put myself through something that I haven't done for maybe two and a half years... I bought a game... from a shop!
They gave me something called a "Receipt" and offered to give me a free "Bag" to go with my purchase... what wonders have I been missing out on? A Free Bag!
I'm not proud... but I do feel dirty.
Generally I buy all my games online, from one store that guarantees delivery for release date and often gets games to me ahead of time... in the case of "The Witcher 2" it arrived on the Thursday before the scheduled release date of the following Tuesday.
The usual big argument for buying games retail is that you don't have to wait to play them, you can get home and play them... but the days of stores breaking release dates are long gone... no more do you see stores placing a game on the shelf a day or two early... so I'm getting a head start here.
And with the only retail game store of any note in Leicester being the odious store that is "GAME" I'm also saving a few notes on each release as well... double win.
Needless to say that I didnt buy this one from GAME.
Having checked Ebay for the prices on Prey I also went through a few other online sites including "Cex" which is basically a burglars paradise, you always feel that the stuff on the shelves used to be in someone's living room until a door "accidentally" opened or a window "just caved in" and the seller just "moved" the TV/Stereo/Console/PC to the store for safe keeping.
Well, they have Prey on sale for £2.50 of $4 which is the same as the cheapest auction I'd seen on Ebay and, in this case, it really was a case of being able to play the game as soon as I got home... if the Olympics hadn't been on and I hadn't been a little distracted by the latest two issues of my Marvel Comic Book Collection having arrived.
So... the game that gave me my first Achievement will potentially also give me my 2,800th Achievement when I eventually boot up my 360 again.
[color=yellow]2,800 And Counting[/color]
So it wasnt "Prey" which coughed up my 2,800th Achievement... but "The Secret of Monkey Island" and what a grind that was.
Prey did offer up a couple of small points... firstly, the game has aged really, really badly and the menu looks hideous... all I manage to put myself through is collecting a couple of Achievements for playing the arcade machines in the bar.
Next up I go back to Monkey Island... I'm using a guide as I never played through much of this when I was younger, not enough happening and my tastes were different back then... and there's an Achievement for learning all 15 Pirate insults used when sword fighting... and they are random.
You meet a pirate, fight and he insults you... so you learn the insult... if you use it yourself there is a comeback which fits the insult... comeback enough and you win the fight.
So you fight and fluff the first few to learn the insults, then you use them yourself to get the comeback and I'd got all but one and it took over 30 fights for the missing insult to kick in... an hour of farting around... reload a previous save as I'm also working on an Achievement to finish the game in under 3 hours and the insult thing took over an hour... wasted time.
[color=yellow]Even Wh0res Have Standards[/color]
So I'm a certified Gamerscore wh0re who has little issue with playing a kids game for an easy 1,000 points... but I now have an ethical debate.
Cheap though these points may have been I have actually played through the game to get them (with the exception of Avatar) and they are all legitimate points from Xbox 360 games.
I know that your Gamerscore can be increase playing games on a Windows phone or on a PC and I know that the PC version of "Fallout 3" can offer a full 1,550 points in a matter of minutes depending on how quick you can type... the game still has a debug function and you can use this to unlock all 72 Achievements before you've even selected your basic skill set.
And I've won a copy of the "Game of the Year" edition on Ebay for a mere £5 or $8ish.
Now... do I take these points or do I leave them alone? I have no intention of playing the game through on the PC because I much prefer the 360 version and the controller... if I take the easy points on offer I'm crossing a whole new line in what Im prepared to do for Achievements... and I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that now I've won the game and its heading my way.
Weeks ago I really couldn't have given a monkey's butt about the build-up to the Olympics... whereas people were flocking to see the torch run through the city I couldn't have given a gnats fart about seeing some C-List celebrity jog a hundred or so yards before passing it onto someone else and so on.
Yet when the games started I could barely prise myself away from the screen... I still refused to watch some events on the grounds that "they aren't proper sports" and some that are sports are the sort of thing I really couldn't have cared less about... but it still had me hooked.
With 24 added sports channels appearing on my cable box to add to the dozen or so sports channels that were already there it was easy... nothing on the TV, start flicking through the Olympic channels... Weightlifting (watched once) Hockey... Gymnastics (yep even watched this when there was a Brit involved) Dressage (never, why would I want to see which country owned the world's most effeminate horse) Boxing... and so on.
It reached a head when I found myself staying up late to watch the "Tae-Kwan-Do" or some boxer I'd never heard of because if he won he'd be in the Gold medal bout.
Seeing Mo Farah claim both the 10,000m and the 5,000m races was something else, in the case of the 5,000m the whole pub stood up and applauded as he crossed the line... and then the closing ceremony kicked in and it was hideous... having showcased the best of British Music history in the opening ceremony we displayed the dregs (Madness and Ray Davies aside) in the closing ceremony... as "One Direction" played I was screaming for one of the drivers of the newspaper wrapped trucks to "so the right thing" and just clean them out in one foul swoop... when "Jessie J" came on and killed any good memories of Queen I may have had left I switched to watch the golf.
The only problem now is that I have nothing to do between 7pm and 11pm each evening... guess I'm going back to the games console then.