Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Battlefield Bad Company 2 -- 'Arica'

Quite possibly, the best fan-song for a video game I've heard in a long time.


I hear a gunshot echo in the night
It's quiet here on Nelson Bay when wookies get their camp on
I take him out with my 4x Noob sight But he'll be back
To piss me off as soon as he can respawn

I see a camping asshole in our base
Waiting to steal our chopper so he can fly around and rape us
I take my engineer kit in my hand and say
Hurry Boys! The Hind is after you!

Gonna take more than Black Ops to drive me away from you
Ain't nothing that a million C4 Whores could ever do
Let's bring the pain down in Arica
While we're at it let's tear them a new one on Port Valdez Too

Gonna squad up and play some rush tonight
Hoping to find a lobby that isn't mostly full of douchebags
C4 on the UAV ain't right, If that's their plan
We'll raid their base and steal the driver's dog tags
Better fall back 'cause victory's in sight
Hurry Boys! The Tank is after you!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dark Tower - Old School Reminiscing

This is just a random bit of verbal spewage. I've pretty much been playing games since man first figured out how to connect a controller to a TV. Ok, that dates me a bit. But seriously, I used to play Pong at my grandparent's apartment clubhouse.

Anyway, I was chatting with a friend of mine about the good old days, we'd play games like the Bard's Tale series (Not that joke of a game released in 2005 that sullied the franchise's good name), Gold Box Games like Pool of Radiance, and the like. We'd literally play 24+ hours straight. Good times!

It got me thinking about other computerized gaming and one item that's oft overlooked is Dark Tower, yeah, the board game. Man I can't tell you how many hours I spent playing this as a kid. We were die hard about this game. We'd listen carefully while our opponent played for clues as to if they received a Wizard, or a Sword, or the much needed Keys to the Dark Tower its self. I still to this day can remember the sound effects to this game, the music that plays at the Bazaar is still imprinted in my brain.

At its core though this was one of the more innovative board gaming interfaces of the day, not to mention a crap ton of fun. If you know what I'm talking about you can actually play a single player Flash version of the game HERE. May Dragons fall on your Sword.

Sorry for the random spewage, but felt like reminiscing.

Twas 10 Days After Christmas...

...and all full of fail.
Yeah that's an Unreal Tournament 3 faceplate. Recognize.

It was March of 2006 when I first got her. It was really a momentous occasion. Xbox 360 Pro Model.  I had already purchased a few games, got a wired controller off eBay. For a time I was happy.

Then over Thanksgiving in 2007 I started getting disc read errors playing Mass Effect. I had a brown out and suffered through my first dreaded Red Ring of Death. Though the console still kind of worked, you had to turn it off, wait a bit, turn it back on and pray. Eventually it got to a point where this became to tedious a nightly ritual so I decided to have it sent off for repairs.

I had heard horror stories of trying to talk to someone over the phone to request repair so I went exclusively through Xbox.com. I found that process to be relatively simple; all I had to do was register the console, request a repair, and done; a white box (coined "the coffin") was at my doorstep within a few days.
Funny story with that- the box you are sent is a plain white box with a shipping label, not very ubiquitous. When I went to my local UPS store to drop it off, the clerk without hesitation asked me if I was sending back a broken Xbox 360. Curious, I said I was and asked him how many of those boxes he sees. "Four or five A DAY". I was kind of taken back. This was just some simple UPS store in suburban Kansas City and a dude sees anywhere from 25-35 of these things coming back A WEEK? I was a little skeptical of his numbers but he would be validated about a year or so later.

After a fairly quick turnaround time in getting repaired, I was back up and running only this time when the disc drive spun a disc, it sounded like a jet engine. I tried to do all I could to ensure the machine was in an open area, well ventilated, and well protected from overheating. Other than the noise of the drive, I encountered no problems for the next few months...

...then another holiday happened. This time it was Fourth of July holiday in 2008 and I was in the middle of some Call of Duty 4. This time when the Red Ring occurred there was no mistaking. I got the freeze up in the middle of the game along with a checkered screen. Knew it the moment I saw it happen. Did the deed again with going through Xbox.com to request a coffin. Fast, simple, no problems; turnaround time was excellent. I go to pick my parcel up this time from the UPS distribution store and I had to wait a bit for them to find it. They had to sort through probably tens of white boxes to find mine. OFF ONE TRUCK. I then asked the guy there how many he sees go out, and without hesitation, he says "hundreds. Per day".

Well, for two and a half years I got no problems out of this run. I give a lot of credit for that to the fact that I run games off the hard drive almost exclusively. Doing that, at least in my mind, keeps the internal temperature of the console down a bit, thus no overheat and I am a happy camper. Every now and then a game will freeze and my heart will skip just a beat as I turn the console off and wait a few seconds and turn it back on. No problems.

Then it happened. About an hour ago tonight. I was in the middle of Call of Duty Black Ops (Activision conspiracy?) and just when we got started I froze. Very curious but ok, I turned off the unit, waited a few seconds then turned it back on. No problem there, got the opening Xbox 360 graphic, and there it stayed.

And stayed.

And stayed.


I started to get concerned here and turned off the console once again. Closed my eyes, turned it back on....and no screen. There it was. Three. Flashing. Red. Lights.

Self portrait. 
You go through the five stages of grief so fast in this instance. I was like "no no no. This isn't it. If I just wait and turn it back on it will be fine". Then I was pissed for a few seconds. Then I was like "ok what can I do to make this work, what trick is there? The console wasn't hot. There must be something I can do to fix this". Then I just sat there....I'm going to have to find a 250GB slim but they are sold out like everywhere. Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck. Then finally, acceptance. Ok, The good news is I will have a slim Xbox that's kind of cool looking, yeah I'm out $300 bones but its only money, right? I mean it would have been better if this happened before Christmas but its cool, man.

Now the real dilemma is... how do I sneak this one past the wife?

TL;DR- Good night, Sweet Prince (2006-2011)