Thursday, December 27, 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know - (Gotye - Cover)

Musician is a loosely defined term these days. If you need a clarification, see above.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Metro 2033: One-way subway = New way to play.

I picked this game up on Steam as part of the THQ Humble Bundle pack (currently the Humble Bundle 7 deal is happening). I never got around to trying it on the 360 and after too long playing console games I find myself looking for PC games that support the 360 controller. Games that came out on 360 too are obvious candidates :)

This is the way the game begins, the mood is set right away with the music and the long camera tracks down tunnels, past people, constantly moving forwards.

As someone who likes to explore broadly while gaming (rather than sticking to the main path of A to B to C) this game might have been frustrating, but it managed to take me along on it's journey. You have a purpose and a reason to keep moving, in the Metro there are dangers and understandably narrow paths, outside the air is toxic and you have limited gas mask filters (time).

The save system is unusual in that there is only 1 autosave slot and no personal save slots. If you stop mid-level the last autosave is the only way you can continue without starting that level again. After you finish levels you can go back to any previous one and begin at the state you reached it though.

This can be troublesome if you have an autosave right before getting shot at, or when you are desperately running out of air filters and can't make it to safety. What that drawback achieves is a sense of really important decisions for everything you do. My instincts have me wanting to check out every room in this house and loot every body, but my air filters have 2 or 3 minutes left so I will skip the upper floor unless I get lucky and find filters on the ground floor.

Being based off a series of novels there is a well formed world to draw from and lots of background that can be added to the people you meet. I am sure I missed out on a lot playing through the first time due to the pressure to keep moving and not being able to explore every fork in the road as it were. That gave me a different kind of gaming experience though, which is itself worthy of trying.

It's all too convenient to just go back and load a save if something goes wrong or you mess up in most games now. Living with the consequences and finding out how you can deal with the outcome can be instrumental to learning new techniques or improving your skills. I know from the early days of Catan that staying the whole game after you think you messed up settlement placement at the start, or you are in a hopeless position, taught me all kinds of ways to deal with situations and win from any kind of scenario.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Unfinished Business

You Guys are The Guys. - md galaxy

I owe the readers of my blog an explanation, and an apology. Ive been off Xbox Live and havent blogged in over a month, not because Ive been unable to, just because I needed a break. 2012 has been by far the most important year of my life. I accomplished so many of my goals that it almost seems impossible. I truly touched the sky, and saw how great great life can be. Whatever it is you want in life, it can be yours. You just have to make good decisions, stay true to yourself, believe in yourself, and keep your head up no matter what the outcome is. Aim for the stars, and if you fall a little bit short, you have far exceeded what most people ever accomplish - because they let the expectations or dreams of other people come before their own.

Gaming is in my DNA - I was born to play, and I feel that truth down to the very core of who I am. Gaming - and the many, many friends who I have made through it, has helped me define myself as a person and even provided me with a career as a professional poker player. I will never, ever, until the day I die, cease to be a gamer. Thats who I am. I live to play. You cant change who you are at your core, and this is who I am. As Lady Gaga said, "I was born this way."

But right now, a few other things need my attention, and I need a bit of a break. Im not sure how long it will last, but now that its been over a month and Im still not ready, I think the very least my friends deserve is an explanation and to hear that not only am I fine - Im doing better than ever. In the words of the immortal Yankee Lou Gehrig:
Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you [all]. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known [them]? Sure, I'm lucky.
Thats how I feel. Honored, and lucky,  to know you all and just be able to associate with you grand men and call you my friends. Never for a moment take life for granted. Those moments of pure happiness, in between the mundane frustrations of our everyday existence, in between the pain and sorrow, in between the what ifs and what should have beens - clasp those moments tightly, and then let them go - but dont let their memory fade. Then breathe. Just breathe - because you are still alive. Life is a strange, marvelous experience in all of its facets, and sometimes, it requires your full attention. But there is one thing I know for sure. I have a lot of unfinished business in gaming. I have some scores to settle. I have some points to drive home.

So rest assured, I will be back.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012