There were no posts
earlier this week for a very good reason. Between the stress,
some alcohol, the pain of over-doing Wii Sports, the stress, being
slightly sick, and the stress, I was just too damned tired to do
much else this week except for...well, stress and recover from
stressing. Yes, the Christmas season is a good time, but I
think I may have slightly overdone the whole thing with a little too
much stress and a little too much sickness.
Anyway, I don't have
much in the way of gaming news or anything for today, but I have a
story of how my Christmas day went. Don't worry, this is quite
tied in to geeking.
As a kid, my family
always had some game systems around. It started with
Intellivision and Commodore 64. To get any deeper, my brother
and I did our duties in acquiring the next and best new toys.
Through my childhood, I would sometimes play a video game with my
mother (who is an avid DS and casual game fan). However, the
last time I had seen my dad playing a video game (unless you count
Freecell or Elf Bowling) was when my parents first got Snafu on the
Intellivision. If you need a refresher on what this year would
be, I'll just say that the NES was still a twinkle in Nintendo's
on Christmas, I decided to show off the Wii to my mother. She
always had a good time with Nintendo games, and she's a bowler.
So, Velveeta, my mom, and I started a game of Wii Sports bowling.
Before starting the game, we were somehow able to convince my dad to
try a single game. Several hours later, we had gone through
many games of bowling, some fun games of the training games for
bowling, nine holes of golf, and dinner was ready. However,
while dinner may have been ready to be devoured, my dad was not
ready to stop his attempt at the home run derby baseball training
don't know how well it will pay off in the end, but I can tell you
that Nintendo may be on to something with their idea of bringing
non-gamers into the gaming world. If my dad can be convinced
to swing a remote control like a baseball bat, golf club, or an
imaginary bowling ball, then I think Nintendo can capture anyone.
I am planning on
doing the annual take on the year, as it closes, next week (I
believe in waiting for the year to actually end before I start
bitching about how much it sucked). However, I will say one
thing prematurely; just for what I saw on Christmas day, I have to
say the Wii is, hands down, the best thing to come along this year.
If it can turn a complete non-gamer like my dad into an addict, then
it's safe to say that Nintendo is doing the right thing this time
P.S. I should say about now that the
Zelda: Twilight Princess review I promised is and has been up.
To start things off for
today, this is a little old, but it may of interest; The 360
Oblivion patch for
Mehrunes Razor is free on Live for the next few days. This
is a little old, since this promotion started about a week ago, but
it's still free, so it's news enough...for now.
I honestly have no
purpose for this, but I downloaded it just on the principle that
Take Two and Bethesda have been charging too much for content
patches for Oblivion...so I felt like I had earned it. In a
nut shell, this type of content just cannot interest me for one very
simple reason...the same reason Knights of the Nine (the massive
content patch released a month ago) cannot interest me.
That would be
because of the damned scaled leveling approach Oblivion took to the
first person RPG glory that was once The Elder Scrolls. I know
I said I'd wait until the year was officially over before giving my
take on various things that made up 2006, but I don't see anything
else like this appearing in the next three and a half days...
The biggest let
down of 2006
(more so than the PS3, the delays for Zelda and all of the AWOL 360
RPGs from Japan in the US, and more than the complete lack of
Wiimotes for those few Wii owners) would have to be Oblivion.
Considering how amazing Morrowind was, not to mention how great
Arena was (Daggerfall had it's moments...but the big pointless world
was just that...pointless), Oblivion could have been more amazing
than any RPG ever conceived. However, the addition of scaled
equipment and monsters ruined the whole concept of replayability.
Once you've finished Morrowind, you were still not close to being
done. You still had the unique items and armors to find,
amazing new weapons and armors to craft, hidden monsters that were
100% unique, and dozens of other fund and unique experiences.
Meanwhile, I had
not even come close to finishing Oblivion before I had found battles
could not become any more challenging. Not only that, but I
could never even have the joy of going back to fight some weak
enemies to blow off some stress. It was all arch demons and
nothing else. The same applied to equipment. Glass
armors used to be amazing and unique...not in Oblivion, where you'd
find the once unique glass armor on every damned bandit you killed.
Not only is rare equipment now common, but you have far fewer items
to equip (no longer do you have over a dozen items slots...just a
In fact, why is
that bandit demanding that I pay something like 10 gold to pass him
when he's wearing glass armor? If he's going to be decked out
in that nice of equipment, just because I encountered him once I was
level 20, then he better ask for something more appropriate...like
I wish it could
all end there...but Oblivion just kept dropping the ball.
True, the game was great for a while, but once you hit that magical
level 20 mark, you were basically done. No more unique armors
or weapons (well...there were a few, like the Daedric artifacts, but
you could create better stuff with no effort), no bigger and badder
monsters to encounter, no more anything. Once you hit level
20, you basically were left with a very simple feeling...or actually
more of a question...should I finish the quest I'm now on, or should
I just finish playing the game?
left the gamer with hundreds of hours of things to have fun with,
Oblivion just gave a fraction of that. Not even was the
content less repeatable, it was even stripped down (no flight magic,
many missing skills, no truly unique equipment, no distinctions in
captured souls, fewer equipment slots, and none of the fun of
joining a noble family). Oblivion had more promise than anyone
would have hoped for...but like a political ad, it just couldn't
deliver what was advertised.
Well, that's about
it for this week. I have too many important things to do
tomorrow...in other words, it's my birthday and I am going to live
it up. So, I'll be back in the new year. Until then...ummm...happy
birthday me. Now when I am told by Wii Sports that my fitness
age is 29, the game will be a little less wrong!
It's been a while. I did
plan to post a bit more while I was on my vacation, but I came to a
strong realization; I was on my freakin' vacation. So, doing what
any vacationing geek would do, I put down the posting, turned down
the part of my brain that deals with writing, and picked up a
controller...or three. Afterall, what use is a vacation from one of
my jobs (the one that pays), when I'm still doing all of the other
I also came to
another realization over the last two weeks; I think I'll skip on
doing my usual end of the year take on what went horribly wrong in
the past year. 2006 is a lot like the 1970's...it seemed amazing and
unique from a distance, but it was pretty damned dull when you
looked at it up close.
Yes, we did see
the Wii and the PS3. Yes, we did see Oblivion. Yes, we did see a new
Zelda. Yes, we saw a new Super Mario Bros in 2D. However, I don't
think much else could be said about 2006. Even these things were not
New Super Mario
was pretty good, but still not overly memorable. Oblivion was ruined
by the scaled leveling. The PS3 saw no games and a backlash of sorts
by the gaming market (like when some PS3s started selling for under
the MSRP on eBay). The Wii is too damned hard to find to call it
officially released yet. I like to think of this period like the
early release period some movies get ("Comes out Friday in New York
and Los Angeles, the following Friday around the nation"). Maybe
when one could find a Wii on eBay within $50 of it's MSRP, and when
a Wiimote could be found in a store will I consider it official, one
way or another.
In fact, looking
at some places, like the annual
Best and Worst of awards at Gamespot, one important trend
emerges...that most of the year seemed so pointless and dull. So
many games came out that no one cared about, and so many came out
that just seemed to go from hyped to boring and worthless. It's not
that I'm trying to sound like some sort of emo bastard about 2006,
but rather I just feel like this had to have been the dullest year
for games in the last five to ten years. Things will get better, and
worse...but just not with the 2006 title attached.
Anyway, to get
back to a more enjoyable subject matter, I picked up Castlevania:
Portrait of Ruin (DS) and Dragon Ball Z (there's more title on it,
but I can't remember it all...it's the Wii version of DBZ) over the
last two weeks.
First of all,
despite what I've been reading about how it's very uninspired, C:PoR
is an awesome game. Unfortunately, like all Castlevania portable
games, it ends way too early, but it's as the old saying go; leave
them wanting more. Well, I want more, and it's not just me simply
being disappointed with a too short of a game experience. The game
is fun, unique, and the ability to switch between two very different
playable characters on the fly is a nice feature not seen in any
real form since Castlevania 3...and well refined from those days.
Most of all, the
settings are awesome. Some reviews have called the settings and the
level design boring, but I can only say one thing to that; I know I
have not played a single Castlevania game in a castle, a desert, a
pyramid, an insane mad-house, a village, and an academy...all in one
game...ever before. Call it uninspired and dull if you want...but
you'll just not be making any damned sense.
I finished C:PoR
with all but ~0.5% explored in the main castle, and all 100%
explored in all of the other locations (if you thought trying for
200% completed was weird on a game like Castlevania: SotN, wait
until you go for around 1000% on this one). Definitely my favorite
Castlevania experience since SotN. Plus a few nice additions, like
having optional quests to accomplish, makes for a very well rounded
experience. Best of all, the touch screen usage is 100% optional.
As for DBZ
(Wii)...I still haven't played too much. I've only had the time to
play through all of the different basic training modes. Considering
the game is really heavy on Wiimote usage, I figured this would be
the best route to take. Plus, if I have ignored the training, I
doubt I'd ever have known some of the basics...like
blocking/defending (waving the cursor out of the screen upwards).
I have to say,
however, that DBZ is the first game since Zelda and Wii Sports that
I've played for the Wii that really seems to have the right idea of
how to use the Wiimote. It's not just pointing and clicking in FPS
hell like some games (Red Steel and even Elebits), and it's not all
about exact precision like most other games (Trauma Center).
Instead, it's more about just adding a little fun into the game play
experience (like pulling your arms back and then thrusting forward,
like the characters you control, to pull of some projectile attacks)
while keeping most of the controls rooted to buttons and sticks.
I'll probably get
into the meat of the game (Adventure Mode) later today. However,
from what I've seen and experienced from training mode, I think
things can only go up from here.
Today's post is not too
geek in subject matter. If you're looking for something other than
me venting some frustrations, come back on Monday and you'll find
I always love it
when the real world keeps dragging me away from my precious
fantasies. For example, I'm now in a few interesting situations
ranging from looking for a new job to dealing with increased
responsibilities at the job I want out of, and even including the
joy of finding a home loan option to enable me to purchase a house,
condo, cardboard box, or whatever it is that an employee of a
non-profit company is allowed to afford. No matter how you look at
it, however, it's just becoming a pain in the ass for me to get
anything done on any front...including trying to relax.
A great example of
this is how I have loan people telling me, in the most complex
language possible (probably so I can't understand and will agree to
anything presented) on what type of loan I "want". Meanwhile, I just
want to know what I can afford and what each loan type will offer in
terms of flexibility with payment rates or prices. Then I want to
make a damned informed decision...not just blindly say "YES!" to
anything and everything said because I can't get an answer to a very
simple question or two. For example, "what else do I qualify for?",
"What if I bump up my down payment?", or "why the hell are you
avoiding every one of my questions?" These all seem rather sane to
me, but these questions are seemingly viewed as evidence of the loss
of my sanity.
currently have a nice mix of about 4 different loan related parties
I'm either in constant phone tag with, or an attempting to start a
game of phone tag with. That's not to count my real estate agent
(who, thankfully, is family, so I know I'm not getting screwed on
that side of things), and a half dozen friends and family who are
all trying to offer their two bits.
In fact, that's
another great one for driving me insane. Here's a hint, to all the
people giving me friendly (or hostile) advice; if buying a home (or
finding a new job, or whatever other issue you have the magical
answer to) was so damned easy to solve, then I don't think there
would be professional services dealing with solving these issues.
It's not easy, it's not simple, it's sure as hell not fast and
convenient, and you don't have the solutions to all of life's
problems when you don't even fully comprehend the entire situation
of other people (or ever yourself). I don't even know if I'm now
bitching about my house hunt, my loan battle, or my job search...but
it doesn't even matter.
To those few
people who have offered good advice (like hooking us up with you
actual loan people who gave you actual deals in the past, or those
with the same experiences as what we are embarking on), I do thank
you. However, those who seem to have answers despite not having real
experience (if you have never tried to own a home AND if you never
tried to finance it without mommy and/or daddy footing the bill,
then this is for you) who are only too happy to freely share you
"solutions", I just have one things to say; Shut the f#@$ up
So, while I'd love
to post today on some great and magical geek type of thing, I just
can't. There is no news out there, which is a bit of a surprise
(since news of holiday game sales, increases or changes in next gen
console supplies and production, and more frivolous Wii lawsuits
should all be the order of the day), but that's not normally a
problem. However, when I can't get a damned second to play games or
watch anime or whatever, due to being overworked in both my employed
and my down time, it means I just can't post anything useful.
At least this
weekend I should be able to get in some downtime that is actual
downtime. Also, I have finally applied for a job that I have a great
chance of getting, and have some leads from some experienced friends
on some home owning advice that will actually be worth the time of
Last of all,
before I go and try to have a fun weekend (starting mid-day
Saturday, since I meet with my real estate agent Saturday morning),
I will just point out the overly obvious; yes, I think I am losing
all semblance of sanity.
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