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danmp18 Blog

Well, I saw most of Transformers the movie.

I decided after all the positive press that Transformers was getting that I needed to go see it. I kept my expectations low just to be safe. Well, about half way into the movie I was loving it.

With about a half hour to go in the movie I see someone approaching me in the theater out of the corner of my eye. It turns out it's a friend of mine that my wife called up to come find me. My wife had been doing a load of laundry while I was away and later noticed water dripping from the ceiling (our laundry room is on the third floor). Our washing machine Sh** the bed and dumped a few gallons of water out into the hallway, which traveled through the floors and left large puddles on all three floors of our house. We cleaned it up as best we could with towels and a shop vac, but needed to pull up the carpet and pads because they were soaked.

My wife called the insurance company and they hooked us up with a buisness that specializes in water damage. They are in the process of drying the entire house, and will paint the cielings, re-lay the carpet, and steam clean it for us. So by the middle of next week the house should be back in order. But for the time being it sounds like a wind tunnel in our house due to all of the high pressure fans that are blowing at the walls to try to dry them.

The good news is that the movie theater is going to let me come back and watch the movie again for free.

Have a happy 4th of July

I wanted to wish everyone a happy (and safe) 4th of July. I'm heading up to my wife's parents lake house after work today. We should be doing some grilling, boating, fishing, water skiing, and probably plenty of drinking. Every year we also get some fireworks and have a bon fire (it gets cold that far north at night) and smores. There's only dial up access up there, so I will probably be off the site until Sunday or Monday.

Be safe and don't drink too much.

My son has Wii on the brain!

My son is only 14 months old, and already Nintendo has their grip on him.

We have a baby swing hanging from the porch in our back yard and when I swing him on it I always say 'Weeee'. Now my son walks around the house all day going Wii . . . . Wii . . . Wii. Even at home I'm bombarded by Nintendo's crude marketing ploys.

Also, a guy that my wife works with bought his kids a Wii and he was telling my wife, the non gamer, that we should get one. My wife thinks that it would be great and now she wants one. :| Not sure if she is serious or not.

And in releated news, my wife thinks I'm depressed or have social anxiety.


I just told her I think she has an addiction to her Blackberry. That ended that discussion!! ;)

What to do for 4 months?

With the Halo 3 beta over and done with what do I do when I need a Halo fix? Halo 2? Will I be able to go back to the Halo 2 control scheme now that I'm so used to the Halo 3 control scheme? How will I survive the 4 months of hype that will be dropped upon us? Will I avoid spoilers of the SP?

It will be a long 4 months with not much on the release calendar to tide us over. There are 4 big RPG's coming out toward the end of the summer and early fall, but none have firm released dates.With E3right around the cornerthere shouldbe some good announcements.

Forza 2 will be my go to game for most of the summer.Then there is always searching for the last few orbs in Crackdown or catching up on my backlog. Also, Pac Man CE has me really intrigued dispite the complaints that the 360 D pad doesn't get the job done.

Summers are always long, hopefully I'll have something to keep me occupied.

My very late Puzzle Quest impressions.

I've been playing a lot of Puzzle Quest lately (when I'm not on my 360), and am having a lot of fun with it.  The game is really simple, but has a really addictive pick up and play feel to it.  To break it down to its simplest terms, it is a puzzle game.  Except that it is also a RPG.  Huh?

So how does it work?  Well everyone knows what Bejeweled is.  Well the game is a take on Bejeweled, except you are going up against an enemy that is trying to kill you.  The gameplay involves switching two objects that are next too each other on a grid to try to make matches of 3 or more identical objects.  The objects are 4 different colored orbs that correspond to magic, skulls that deal direct damage to your opponent, coins that can be spent in town, and stars that give you experience that allow you to level up (just like an RPG).  You and your opponent take turns flipping objects on the puzzle board to try to make matches.  When you make a match of three or more objects, you get the effect of those objects.  For instance if you flip a blue orb to cause three blue orbs to sit in a row, you get +3 to your blue magic.  If you get 3 skulls in a row, you deal damage to your opponent, etc.  You continue to take turns until one of you reduce the others hit points to zero. 

But you also have spells that can be used against your opponent.  The spells require a certain number of several types of orbs.  For instance, one spell may require 5 red orbs, and 6 green orbs.  If it is your turn and you have collected enough orbs, then you can cast the spell against your opponent.  Some spells cause damage, while others have different effects like giving you every experience star on the grid, or giving you an extra turn, or causing you to deal extra damage when you get skulls.  Your opponent will also have spells that they can use against you.

Another thing to know about the gameplay is that if you get 4 or more objects in a row, you get to go again.  This is very valuable as you can continue to rack up magic orbs, experience, coins, or deal damage to your opponent while they must sit and watch.  It can get frustrating when your opponent continues to get 4 in a row and skips your turn repeatedly, but I've found that this is really the key to victory against most enemies, to just not let them have a chance to deal you damage or cast a spell.

So how does the rest of the game work?  You start off in a town and can talk to people to get quests.  Most quests involve going a slaying a monster, or escorting someone to another town.  All quests ultimately involving getting into combat at some point which leads you back to the puzzle part of the game.  But while in town you can buy equipment, listen to rumors, and add to your stronghold if you have the right amount of money. 

Eventually you'll be able to get mounts, companions, research new spells, learn the spells of your enemy, forge new weapons, and a bunch of other stuff.  Like I said it still breaks down to being another take on the puzzle genre, but I think it's a pretty innovative take on a genre that I don't normally get into.  Very fun game.

Halo 3 Beta impressions

I DL'd the game about 11:30 last night.  The DL stopped half-way through the first time, but I was able to resume the download.  Overall, I would say it took about 15-20 minutes to DL.

The first game I got into I was matched up with a bunch of guys that were all playing the game for the first time, which was cool.  We ended talking about the map and the graphics more than we were serious about winning the match.

High ground is my favorite map of the three.  It has a lot of different areas that add variety to the map.  There are interior levels, caves, tunnels, vehicles and just about every weapon available.  It is set up as a perfect one-flag CTF map, with good defense points and backdoors into the complex.  The map has a lot of really cool details and is probably the most visually stunning map.

Snowbound takes a little longer to get used to because of all the ridges and tunnels all over the map.  There are two bases that are really close together and they both have force-fields on the doors that allow Spartans through, but not thrown grenades or bullets.  This map looks to be a really cool team-slayer map, or possibly any of the no team modes.

Valhalla is really big.  I may even say too big.  In the game I played on it, it was 4v4 and it took a really long time to find a target.  Also, the weapons are really spread out and difficult to get too quickly.  This would make a really nice CTF map with 8v8 if that many players were allowed.  Also, Banshees would make this map really fun.  It is rather stunning with the waterfall and the high walls and reminds you a lot of Blood Gulch and Coagulation.

The new weapons are all really fun, but some take a little getting used to.  The Spartan laser is really powerful when you land it, but it works more as a sniper rifle and is useless in closer-range combat.  A good Spartan will just keep moving and you will never get a shot off with it.  The new brute gun is great dual-wielded up close, but loses its effectiveness at farther ranges.

The two vehicle weapons that are wieldable are interesting.  They are really powerful, but you are slower than dirt when you have them, and their ammo is limited once you remove them from their perches.

I haven't tried out the vid feature of the game yet, but it looks to be really fleshed out in the final game, even if it is in a much more basic level at this point.

I can't wait to play more of the game tonight, and the rest of the beta.  Which btw, has been extended for 4 days because of the delay.  Totally worth it in my mind since we get another weekend out of it.

If your in the beta I'd love to hear your thoughts, or if not, your thoughts are welcome anyway.  I'll also try to answer anyone's questions about the beta if you have any.

My wallet is screaming for mercy!

Seriously.  Has there been a better year for gaming?  1998?  2001?  Nope, 2007 will go down in history as the best year gaming has ever seen.  Let me list the games I plan to get for the rest of this year:


  • Forza 2
  • Eternal Sonata
  • Blue Dragon
  • Mass Effect
  • GTA IV
  • Half-Life 2: Orange Box
  • Halo 3
  • Lost Odyssey

That is only the games I have to have on day one.  Then there are the ones that I will probably wait a little on or check out the reviews:

  • BioShock
  • Two Worlds
  • Assassins Creed
  • Beautiful Katamari
  • Culdcept Saga
  • Overlord
  • Guitar Hero III
  • Project Sylpheed

The DS has fewer releases the rest of the year that I'm interested in, but they are all big ones:

  • Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
  • Etrian Odyssey
  • Dragon Quest IX
  • Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings

And then the PS2 is surprisingly releasing a couple of games that will imho become legendary along the lines of Panzer Dragoon Saga:

  • Odin Sphere
  • Grim Grimoire

Everything I've read about Odin Sphere is telling me this game will be amazing.  Everyone who's seen it has been describing the game as a work of art and the last great game on the PS2.  I really see this game becoming one of those holy grail games that no one buys and everyone looks for months later.  The game is destined to be sold on Ebay for $200 by the fall.  I have my copy pre-ordered, and I emplore everyone reading this to order a copy and give this game a chance.  This is the originality that we always scream for and its right in front of us.

So as you can see it will be an expensive year if everything hits.  Of course there are always games that come out of left field and surprise us.  Hopefully there won't be too many of those or I'll have to sell a kidney.

But doctor, we still have a pulse!

Is Sony making a mistake by not continuing development for the PS2?  Sure there are still a good deal of 3rd party developers supporting the system, but it appears that God of War 2 is going to be the last Sony developed game on the system.  All future support is going to the PS3.

Problem is the PS2 is still selling pretty well.  In fact only the DS is outselling the console.  There are something like 500 billion PS2's in gamers hands, and software is still selling (see God of War 2).  On the other hand the PS3 is priced too high and not connecting with the majority of consumers.  Should Sony have waited until Blu-ray prices came down a bit further before releasing the system?

Yes, MS has built a lead with the 360, and Nintendo is selling a crap-load of Wii's, but with a well priced system and a better developed software line-up Sony could have caught up eventually.  The problem would have been developer support.  Would developers hungry for more horsepowered jump to the 360 and never come back?  Well the Wii has shown that maybe the general consumer is not yet ready for the 'next gen'.

I'm curious to hear your thought.  I'm no industry analyst, so what do I know about when the right time to release a console is.  All I know is that the last gen consoles still had some legs left and may have been abandoned to soon, especially the PS2.

Halo 2 nights are back

I'm pretty excited because I'm going to get to play Halo 2 online with the guys from the VU and OGU tonight for the first time.  Since I just got XBL, I missed the Halo 2 phenomenon the first time.  Bungie recently released a couple of new maps so people want to check them out and start to practice for Halo 3.  It should be pretty fun.

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