ThaSod / Member

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ThaSod Blog

Tons of new games

So I acquired about 100 games (literally) since the last time I posted, including Assassin's Creed 2, Mass Effect 2, GH5 and the downloadable content in Fallout 3. But the game I loved the most was Borderlands. Loved it!

It brought back fond memories of Diablo II and was actually more user friendly. Playing Co-op was super fun too, and definitely worked up the comraderie.

Anyway, I definitely reccomend Borderlands.

Mass Effect 2 and Assassin's Creed 2 were both wonderful, and many annoyances of the original games were smoothed out, but it felt like something was missing, plotwise. The romance options were way better in ME2, and it looks like you can even woo Tali! but it seems like they caved to the media complaining about the 'Sexbox' and tamed down the sex scene.

In Assassin's Creed 2, I really wanted to assassinate the Pope! But it wouldn't let me. And something was wrong with the ending, it seemed a bit weak.

Oh and another game that I liked a lot was Rise of the Argonauts. The opening scene almost had me turning it off cause the production values looked so low, but after I got used to some stiff dialog scenes I found the rest of the game to be an excellent, if short, RPG.

Anyways, sorry for being gone so long. Just so busy with everything these days...

The Next Evolution of RPGs!

I'm going to do a series of gaming ideas to liven up some old genre's with new ideas. First up is RPGs.

Nostalgic for the days of pencil and paper RPGs? Miss the companionship of other obsessive nerds? Ready for the next evolution in electronic gaming?


Little Castle on the Borderlands


Role Playing

Slow Leveling

English Accents

AI 'players'

At the beginning of the game a party of virtual dorks will be created to 'role play' the other members of your party. These deep and dedicated AI companions will do all that your remember from your pen and pencils days, other than smell bad. They will:

· Argue with you about your character's actions

· Overact their characters' dialog

· Take hourly smoke breaks (NOTE: this is a functionality of the Xbox 360 hardware)

· Ask to share your pizza

· Inexplicably not show up at game time

· Have annoying laughs and make creepy misogynistic/homophobic jokes

This game uses a system based on 2nd edition AD&D so not only will you have access to weapon proficiencies and be able to cast spells once per day, you'll be using a massive amount of charts, matrices and treasure tables. And don't forget the DM! A virtual DM will keep all the players in line, staying just this side of a nervous breakdown while shepherding the players through the adventure.

So if you're ready for THACO, armor class and psionics, take a trip back to the 80's with

Little Castle on the Borderlands!

Dragon Age: Origins deal

I traded in a bunch of games to Amazon- it worked out well and I pre-ordered Dragon Age: Origins. This deal is better than it looks: $57 ($3 off) is not much, but it's also tax free and free shipping (another $5 for tax and another $5 maybe for shipping) and then there is a $10 credit on amazon that can be used to purchase another game- that's a total of about $23 off the list price. Anyway, this game looks wonderful and I believe it will redeem Bioware after the rather lame leveling mechanics/side quests of Mass Effect. I had gotten $88 for my games trades so I still have some left over for the game that I will apply the $10 credit to. I have high hopes for Borderlands (though I am wary) and Alpha Protocol (which seems less of a risk).

I traded some games to Gamestop as well (they have a $20 bonus if you trade in 4 games, effectively doubling or more games that don't trade for much). I used that to buy The Beatles: Rock Band. It is awesome- I can't say how thrilling it is to know and love every single song on the game's soundtrack. Random songs never make me nervous that a song I hate will show up. It's also rather easier than the other music games- I can do every song on expert, which is not true of any other GH or RB game.

Oh, and I also picked up Rock Revolution for $5 at Best Buy. It is a low budget rip off (I would have expected better from the makers of DDR) but at over 8 songs per $1 it's really a pretty good deal. I've had at least $5 of fun with it so far.

Anyway- Dragon Age is going to rock and I hope that the whole 'Origins' schtick does lead to massively different plotlines when you play as different characters. Even if it is just the first 6 hours that are hugely different, well, that's as long as a lot of games these days.

PS: the Amazon deal on Dragon Age includes a price guarantee so if Amazon lowers the price before it releases they'll refund the difference between that and what you paid.

Looks more exciting than poor old Liara!

Satirical/Humorous Games

I've been thinking of satirical games lately- It's a hard thing to pull off, given that good writing is generally the rarest thing in games.

I'm going to go over the games I found the funniest that I played.

1. Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy. This was a text adventure, and almost as hilarious as the book. It came with the don't panic button and the keep calm sunglasses (that were opaque, so you wouldn't see the danger, and therefore wouldn't panic). It followed the book pretty closely, but the tricks and puzzles were so hilarious (and hilariously complex!) that you had to love it even as you racked your brain to figure it out. Anyone out there remember trying to get the Babel Fish to go into your ear?

2. Fallout 2. Fallout 1 had its moments, but was much more serious about itself. Fallout 2 took itself very lightly and made fun of all sorts of stuff- Magic the Gathering (Tragic the Garnering) which was huge at the time, a medicine man who talked in metaphors that your character would continuously make fun of, the Insane President of the Enclave and plenty of other very funny NPCs and companions (one of which has the bone of his grandfather who gives him advice).

3. The Bard's Tale. I am not talking about the classic from the 80's, I mean a more recent game by the same guy for the original Xbox. It was given poor reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Its gameplay was pure 3rd person hack and slash (something missing in the current generation) but the main character, voiced by the Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride, stole the show. It made fun of all the fantasy staples- the captured princess, killing rats in the cellar, a Chosen One to save the world, or in this case, the princess is calling everyone she can and trying to convince them they are the Chosen One. Even little kids armed with sticks. And the Bard has a jilted lover in every town, and has a smart ass response to everything. Anyway, I liked it much better than the reviewers did.

4. The Simpsons Movie Game. I bet this game would have scored a lot higher if they had fixed 2 things- a really really nasty game camera and a hideous amount of pointless collectibles that are almost impossible to get with the camera troubles. The writing was some of the best I've seen, replaying some of the best episodes of the Simpsons and then moving into a game satire with anti-gaming politicians and levels spoofing such classics as Medal of Honor (Medal of Homer) Pokemon (Happy Happy Fun Game) Lord of the Rings (Neverquest) and Grand Theft Auto (Grand Theft Scratchy). It gets even better as the family saves their 2D counterparts from being recycled, then goes and confronts Matt Groening himself, and eventually goes even higher, to confront God, who turns out to be a gamer. The camera frustrations are worth it just to see the story.

5. Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard. If not for the sloppy FPS controls this game would have been quite good. Er, and it was rather repetitive. So it's hard to recommend, but it is really quite funny. Matt Hazard has had dozens of games and they all come back to torture him in this 'sequel'. 2D Wolfenstein style Nazis can turn sideways and disappear, some enemies wield squirt guns (from a title called Soak-'em pronounced SOCOM), a 80th level wizard friend named Bill who talks like Captain Kirk. You want to see the story, but the game itself feels too much like a chore.

You guys know any good satire games?

Sarah Palin gone?

If only she does her best Greta Garbo impression after she resigns...

Edit: here are some quickie reviews of games I am playing

Quantum of Solace: Decent, above average for a movie game

Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard: Hilarious, but wretched FPS mechanics

Last Remnant: Intriguing and good, but there is a lot of grinding

Star Wars: Force Unleashed: So far, so good! Need to play it more

Rapala Fishing Frenzy: a single game mechanic does not make for a full game. XBLA maybe.

World Series of Poker: You needA LOT of patience to play this game.

Vicodin cough syrup

So my parents-in-law are in town. On Monday my father-in-law visited the doctor, complaining of a cough. The doctor perscribed him anasal spray, a red syrup and some pills. He went home and took all 3 before going to bed, thinking they were simple cough remedies.

Oops. It turns out it was Vicodin cough syrup and vicodin pills. The nasal spray, luckily, was harmless. But the other two messed him up big time. He was puking all night and his head was spinning so bad that he thought he was going to die.

Now I have to ask you:

What kind of a doctor perscribes vicodin for a cough?

P.S. He is fine now, but he chucked the medicine in the garbage as soon as he felt better. I told him he should have sold it down at the high school. I don't think he got the joke.

Worst... Game... Ever

So if you've read the review on Jumper: Griffin's Story, you might think it's bad. Well, it's much worse than that. It's definitely the worst game on Xbox 360. You collect experience to... unlock achievements. You gather collectibles in a loot room. When you go to said loot room, you cannot interact with said collectibles and they are so poorly drawn that they are unrecognizable. The characters you fight look so much like you that you often lose where you are in the crush. In a game about teleporting all over the place you are barred by invisible walls from the majority of visible places. If you quit the game and come back, none of your checkpoints will have saved and you will have to start the chapter over again. This only matters on the last chapter, which is larger than the rest of the game combined. Oh, and did I mention the graphics would be embarrassing on a PS1? (other than drop zone cut scenes).

I suppose it could be worse- Brash entertainment could still be in business despite making terrible games.

But on the plus side, you can get about 400 gamerscore points in 10 minutes! It hands out 50 point achievements for each of the 5 main attacks, 2 more for pulling off combos and another for using a drop zone, all 8 of these come during the 'tutorial' level.

Gaming GameStop

What I'm going to write here is not illegal, but it is probably unethical. I don't do these tricks a lot (they will get noticed eventually if they happen too often) but with my recent gamerscore race I did have to come up with creative ways to get my hands on more games with a reduced budget.

Ways to game GameStop

•1. The most famous way is the 'extended free rental'. Merely buy a used game, then return it within a week, saying you didn't like it. Voila, free 7 day rental!

•2. My favorite is the 'rollover rental'. The same as above, except instead of returning it, you exchange it for a different game after 7 days. Continue this until you find a game that you truly love. I've done this about 4 times in a row before I finally felt guilty enough (and found a game good enough) and let GameStop keep the money.

•3. This one is the most questionable- the 'buy none get one free' scam. Every 3 months or so, GameStop has a buy 2 get 1 free sale on used games. Pick up 3 games and get the cheapest one free. You cannot return the games for a refund, but you can trade them in for a different game, ala way #2. Once you have done that, the new game you have is on a different receipt and can now be returned for store credit, leaving you minus the money but with the same amount of credit and a free game to boot. Now wait three months and instead of using money to buy your buy 2, get 1 free games use the credit from last time...

•4. The 'stackables'. This one is not unethical, it's just good common sense. The GameStop website has a signup where you get a weekly email that sends you a coupon. This is stackable with your 10% off GameStop Edge card and better yet stackable with a buy 2 get one free. This is especially important for trade in games that generally give you next to nothing- up to 2 promos will stack, so my favorite time is when I get a 'trade in 2 Xbox 360 games get an extra $10 credit' along with a 25% extra trade in credit coupon. At this point you are getting something close to the value of the game you are trading in.

By the way, is doing a buy 2 get 1 free video game sale right now.

The Competition, or: How gamerscore rescues the game

When ZGreenwell and I started this competition, I immediately grabbed 2 titles off my shelf that I had 'bought for my daughter' but were in reality gamerscore bonanzas. This gave me the excuse to finish them off, something I had been meaning to do for months.

Other than Madden NFL 2006, TMNT is the easiest gamerscore game I have encountered, beating out even King Kong. Play through once, then repeat the tutorial level once and you've got the full thousand. Open Season isn't as bad as everyone says, and I enjoyed it a bit even when I had to replay a few levels to get the max score and get all the collectibles. I had already played these games about halfway through, so between the two of them I got 1000 points.

Gamestop was having a buy 2 get 1 free sale, so I bought Cabela's African Safari, Cabela's Trophy Bucks and DDR Universe (DDR was more for getting exercise than for gamerscore). African Safari was very easy, merely play through on expert and then do a couple of things to get the last few straggling points and you've got a full 1000. It took me 5 days, so I traded in it (at no cost) for Scene It: LCA. I was a bit burned out on hunting so I have hardly even begun the Trophy Bucks, and LCA's last few points are surprisingly elusive. Then last weekend I purchased All Pro Football 2K8 and War Tech. War Tech was quite annoying, but 500 of its points were quite doable. The football game I found too annoying, so I traded it and War Tech in for Monster Madness, which is about 4 times more annoying, and stingy with gamerscore to boot.

The rest of my score has come from finishing Too Human, EDF 2017, Civilization Revolution, and Naruto Rise of a Ninja.

Unfortunately I was punished this weekend and disallowed from playing at all. Arg!

So I guess Z will be able to catch up a little.

40K- Boo Yaa!

Last night I left my Xbox on with War Tech running- and since it includes time on the options screen as time played I surpassed 30 hours play time and got a big fat 50 gamerscore achievement. It pushed me past 40,000 points and that much closer to my 50,000 finish line in my race with Zgreenwell. Including further score whoring this morning, my total is 40120 points, or just over 8% of all the points available in the world (according to

Now I just have to make a long hard effort for the remaining 9,880 points to finish the contest.