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jerim007 Blog

The New GS

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Utter crap!!!!!!!!!!!!! I, like other users, thought it would take some getting used to, but guess what? It took me 20 minutes to realize I don't need to get used to it. Everything I liked about the site is gone, especially the people. Hell, most of them bailed over the last few months and now I wonder why. My user scores for games I play are gone, but they remain in the reviews i've written. Let's take Dragon Age: Origins, for instance. I've rated it 9.5, but the game page itself tells me I haven't. It also opens up to witch hunt dlc and not the main title. It also appears that the game now carries an overall score of 5/10. After reading the GS reviews of 3 games I also realized that they were newly written reviews. What? re-writes? Why would you re-write reviews and not fire staff? Or did they? Bah. Don't care. I don't even care enough to finish this blog.

Metal Gear just made my day.

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     Metal Gear was an old favorite of mine for the NES.  I think i rented it 3 weekends in a row before my mom finally bought it for me.  I played that and Zelda so much that people in school would call me for help when they couldn't get past a certain point in the game.  When Snake's Revenge came out in 1990, the same people would ask for help with that even though I didn't get it until Christmas.  I was a regular encyclopedia of J.R.R. Tolkien, Dungeons & Dragons, and NES games.  People I didn't  even know would come up to me in the lunchroom to ask me for tips. 

     I bought Metal Gear Solid for the PC in 2000-01, and while I liked it a lot, I kept dying again and again and again at the same place, so I just quit playing.  The same can be said for Frank Herbert's Dune, which I got shortly thereafter, and encountered a similar problem resulting in a similar decision.  

     When the Metal Gear HD collection came out in the last year or so, I snatched it up.  So after all those years of missing out on an acclaimed series of games made for a system I didn't care about - here they all are wrapped up neatly in a bow. Nice.  Now that i've finally begun clearing up my pile of unplayed games, I started this one today.

     Whaddya know???  They have the original NES games in the collection too.  WOO HOO!!  I don't know what happened to my old games - mom probably sold em at a yard sale years ago - so I never thought I'd be playing them again.  So here's the first step down memory lane ......... 

34 years, 10 consoles and 800 games later .......

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          Have a problem with a next-gen console? Me too.  The NES had a d-pad and 2 buttons, not a joystick.  The SNES has L + R bumpers, wtf am I supposed to do with those?  Why does the Sega Genesis have 3 buttons? Oh, so when you play NHL live'95 you can punch again. (Anyone remember when they took fighting out of the game? They even reference it in the movie Swingers.)  Every generation brings new problems and new concerns.  The N-64 came out and, aside from playing my brother's Ocarina of Time, I decided to stick to my PC.

          The answer is yes.  Yes the next gen is unfamiliar, yes it has something you don't like, yes you fear change, and yes the consumer will speak with their wallet, rest assured.  When the dust settles, adjustments will be made, either to your mindset or from the corporate BS.  You may decide that the changes aren't so bad and the company may decide they took a wrong turn with their business decisions (not bloody likely).  Patience is the key, young padawan.

          I own an Xbox 360.  I play it quite a bit and I'm already sitting on a backlog of games that says I can wait til the next-gen has been available for a year and not care til the dust settles, BUT I also know there are people that have far more time to play.  They've beaten games 3 times a year ago that i'm just playing for the first time.  Do they want to wait? Can they wait? Some people feel the need to own every Madden NFL game ever made no matter how little change between the last and the next. (Gotta update those rosters, eh?)

          Here's where I take a page from my own playbook:  Say hello to my little friend, the PC.  Have some fun with it, play a few games on it, wait until Sony or MS choke on their own swill, and buy their gadgets when they are worth buying.  Yes, each game system has something coming out that looks so ultra-cool you gotta have it, but chances are it won't be out until late next year anyway, and double or nothing it will be out for the pc. (The Witcher 3 anyone?) 

          Am I furious with the nextbox? Yes.  Do I hate the kinnect? Yes.  Will I buy a PS4? Maybe.  Will I wait awhile before jumping on the next train? Yes. Will I continue to play video games well into my 50's?  Ab-so-friggin-lutely!

Skyrim - done.

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335 hours across 86 days.  That's about 1000 hours for Elder Scrolls 3,4, & 5.  I will probably have to give up my day job for the next installment.  Whenever and whatever that might be........

What I pay for games

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I suppose this could be a commentary on some blog chatter i've read recently. Whether it relates to game studios releasing future titles by download only or by multiplayer options in games where they have no business.

But it all starts with me.

I liked the recent articles regarding the gamer archetypes. You could definitely call me a completionist, amongst others. But for me, game time is all about ME time, the escape from the hectic, noisy chaos I call daily life. The time of day where I prefer to shut out everything else and immerse myself in a good story, whether its a video game, movie, or a fat 600 page book. The time of day where an outside intrusion is of the utmost annoyance regardless of the source. Intrusions which absolutely include other gamers, the cat, and inevitably my wife.

I like to work through a game at my own pace, enjoy the story and even take an hour to strip a dungeon of almost every piece of sellable loot and make several trips back to town just to unload it all. The last thing I want is for someone else to shift me from my zone of comfort. This is also why i've never felt the need to own a game on day one. I've always felt the biggest reason to own a game on day one of release is that it is the best time to find others online that are also playing the same game. So, if you are like me and you find multi-player useless, 90% of your game collection doesn't even feature it. Therefore, i've never felt the need to own a game on day one. Add in the fact that i've always had a nice sized backlog of games to play and that reduces the pressure of paying top dollar for a new title down to a microscopic level.

Should the studios decide to distribute games via download I suppose it won't bother me. I've never tried to trade in anything I've ever bought. I've never shopped at Gamestop, haven't bought anything from Electronics Boutique in 17 years, and probably pre-ordered 2 games ever. You'll know which two in a minute. Amazon has been a close friend of mine for years, and because my order history is readily accessible, I thought I would share what i've spent on some of my X-Box titles, all of which were purchased new.

Title $$

Blades of Time 13.82
Lollipop Chainsaw 19.99
The Darkness 19.99
The Darkness 2 22.50
Risen 32.97
Risen II 59.99
Kingdoms of Amalur 32.97
Dragon Age II 59.54
Lego Indiana Jones 19.96
Lego Indiana Jones II 16.79
Bloodstone:007 39.99
Game of Thrones 21.78
The Witcher II 39.99
Catherine 29.99
Tomb Raider:Underworld 17.22
Morrowind 11.91
Oblivion 27.99
Skyrim 34.99
Lord of the Rings: War in the North 19.99
Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga 19.99
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection 29.99
Goldeneye Reloaded 29.99
Dungeon Siege III 29.99
Two Worlds 23.08
Two Worlds II 19.99
Hunted: The Demon's Forge 29.99
Venetica 29.99
Fable: The Lost Chapters 12.94
Fable II 44.99
Fable III 29.96
Red Dead Redemption 39.99
Final Fantasy XIII 49.99
DA:Origins Awakenings 31.30
Gears of War II 27.99
X-Blades 15.89
BulletWitch 24.83
Damnation 23.38
The Last Remnant 39.97

My wife has purchased maybe 10 games for me of which i'm sure all were full price, especially since 2 were Force Unleashed 1 & 2(yay George Lucas!!, gouge me some more, wait, yay Disney!! ). I'll let you all decide if any of these were a bargain. If you base the value on time spent playing, then Skyrim is the winner.

Notes of a Skooma Addict

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Sometime this past week I believe I reached a point where I'm about halfway through Skyrim. 260 locations discovered, level 37, 150-some hours played in 30 days. I spent more time exploring, meticulously cleaning up every piece of sellable junk, than I did progressing the storyline. In fact, I haven't even set foot in Riften, Winterhold, or Dawnstar.

And then the bugs showed up. Lots of bugsez.

I was preparing some harsh words for a very likeable game.

It appeared I created some significant bugs by clearing every location in the countryside before ever getting to the cities or people that send you there in the first place. Solitude most of all. Most towns have a cut scene that occurs as you arrive. Solitude has two. One at the gates of the city and one in the jarls throne room. Both of them bugged, in different fashions, and since the "Man Who Cried Wolf" quest is necessary to open up options for a house and thanehood in the Hold, I was pretty upset that this whole chunk of stuff to do was blocked. More and more I started encountering problems that rose out of me completing things before I was sent there. And the frustration was mounting.

I did notice a few simple things I could do if I needed to play back from a previous save, even one that I believe took me back to 1/4 of the way through -

1)Hire the wagon to take you to the capitals of each hold. Talk to the Jarl, steward and local bartender. Accept bounties and just run and fetch as it seems everyone in the game eventually sends you where you need to go. Guards you pass in the towns even send you to locations based on rumours heard on the road. Once you've done this you will have plenty of things to do.

2) Don't explore. Or at least keep it to a minimum.

SO, embarking on my advice, I travelled to Dawnstar & Winterhold, and found a swarm of bugs, some in the college and one big mean nasty roach that caused the game to freeze and crash 7 times during the Daedric quest Waking Nightmares. I went to bed considering scrapping this whole campaign. While at work yesterday, I considered how to proceed and decided one more time to finish waking nightmares. It was a success, i got outside and went to the pause screen to save (which is where the freezing always occurred, either an auto save or a manual save) then for some reason quick travelled to the Blue Palace in Solitude. Having been inside the palace 7 times or so, I was astounded when the Man Who Cried Wolf Quest suddenly jump started. I completed it and opened up everything in Solitude I couldn't do earlier.

So the Miasma of Vaermina must have been an excellent pesticide. Most of the bugs have cleared up and the couple remaining are of little consequence to anything. Which leads me to today.... halfway through an engrossing game, much cleaner than its predecessor, with an average of 5 hours playtime per day. On to Riften and the thieves guild quest-line. Then my next big decision, do I join the rebellion against the Empire? What would Han Solo do?

P.S. I haven't even gotten to the DLC which I may download before long. It may even tide me over until ...... March?

Skyrim - first impressions

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Where do I begin? I managed to play 25 hours of Skyrim this week. On one hand, I feel as if I've accomplished nothing over 10 hours except changing my shoes and going for a walk, and on the other hand, I've killed 5 dragons and learned a few shouts.

I've played Morrowind and Oblivion, so the gameplay is comfortable, and compared to the other two, its real tight. Graphics, textures, weather patterns, etc. I played Oblivion first in '08-'09 and then wanted the back story so I moved on to Morrowind for the first 6 months of 2010. Considering it was 9 years old at the time, I believe I liked Morrowind better, except that there was no fast travel so it could take 30-45 minutes of real-time walking just to get to some far away places. I also have to note that I was unemployed and hammering out 10 hours a day or I would never have gotten through it.

Skyrim really puts a nice shine on the series. Like the others, there is an abundance of places to explore, people to kill and loot to be had. I already have 25 or so quests working and i'm barely scratching the surface. A few of the things I really like are 1) The followers. It's kinda nice to have a mule along to load up all my loot. I have a terrible habit of cleaning out every bit of junk in a dungeon before I can move on, sometimes taking a couple of hours to clear it, so having someone else along really helps. 2) The back story. I've read a few books found in my travels and I like how they've really changed the empire. Some games would just say its 200 years later and person x is now in charge after person y did this, but they've really messed with things that make you realize this is a living, breathing world . A rebellion, siege of Cyrodil, the blades are no more and there appears to be unrest in Hammerfel (Elder scrolls 6?) 3) It sucks that I don't remember how lockpicking or smithing worked in the older games, but I really like how it goes right now. I have a faint memory of using a hammer to repair weapons or armor as they degraded from use, but that may be a different game altogether. I haven't noticed if your eq does degrade in Skyrim, but there is plenty more to find, and you can create your own, so thats top notch.

It's grown on me immediately and while it's doubtful I'll play it a second time, I hope it lasts quite awhile before I finish it. So far the only things I don't like are the bad "Ah-nold" impressions and the lack of signature "characters" in the game.

....... more to come .........

Winter is Coming

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I picked up the Xbox360Game of Thrones for real cheap recently and decided to hammer it out before I tackled Skyrim. It interwove decently with the book, had a nice plot, and solid performances from James Cosmo and Conleth Hill (Lord Mormont and Lord Varys).

The game? It's ok, but really it made me think about two things. 1) Winter is coming:shock: (for real though, I just had to fill my oil tank, friggin expensive) and 2) I cannot wait for season 3.

The next season of this show will be based on events from the 3rd book in the seriesA Storm of Swords. This book, aside from being 1128 pages long (Mass Market Paperback ed.), is one of two fantasy novels over 1000 pages that I have managed to read in one day, the other being Stephen King'sThe Dark Tower. It is awesome. So, yes, this will be a long winter.(No NHL anyone?) I also had to lose HBO and other channels due to budget restraints so I need to figure out how to get my G.O.T. fix come March 31.

I save my no NHL rants for facebook, so I will not bore anyone here, it's just that hockey has always been my favourite sport, and 2 lockouts in 8 years is a little too much to stomach. And if you don't believe me about reading Storm of Swords in a day, you must realize I began this marathon at 10 am and carried through until 6 am. That's 56 pages an hour, or about a page a minute, which has always been my pace since I was 13.

Skyrim, one year later

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I felt the need to blog about something, so I figured I would mention that on Sunday, I will begin Skyrim. That would be one year, to the day, after its release. I don't think I am that far behind on every title, because I've played a few that came out this year already, but in the back of my mind I knew i was saving this one for the holiday push. You know, where it will keep me occupied well past the new year in which any presents from holidays and birthdays will now have accumulated, waiting to be devoured. Beyond that, i believe my only other games on deck are the Darkness 2 and Risen 2.

Lucky for me that the multiplayer features of any game are the least of my concern. My game time revolves around me, not some bunch of wankers online that are probably 14 and living in their parents basement. That's also why I get every game I want for $25 or less. Because I buy them waaaaaaayyy after everyone else.

So here's looking forward to hearing that "arrow in the knee" quote for the next few months. :D

The Avengers

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Wow.

Maybe now Joss Whedon will have enough street cred to do what he wants and not have some crap-tastic network s**t-can his next series.

It had just about everything one could ask for in a movie. Witty dialogue, tons of action, a well-played villain and Legolas the pointy-eared archer demolishing orcs....... oh wait, I mean Hawkeye. Still, it blew away my expectations and now I fully understand why it's breaking a few box-office records. I just hope it has the momentum to topple the mighty Avatar.

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