Archive for On Video Games

Returning to Pandora

Late Monday night (Technically Tuesday morning) I, like many, returned to Pandora.

Nope. Wrong Pandora. I returned to THIS Pandora

Borderlands was an odd game for me. It was somewhat of a sleeper hit when it was first released. I had heard a bit about it, and bought it for my brother as a birthday gift, because it sounded like his kind of game. Lo and behold, it was. He was really enjoying it, while I mostly dismissed it. Then came the fateful day when I decided to see what all the fuss was about and watch him play.

After watching him brutally murder a few Psychos and Bandits with an incredibly diverse set of weapons, only to discover two red loot chests containing even MORE diverse weapons, I was hooked. I NEEDED that game. I went out later that day and bought it, without having played a second of it. All I wanted to do was get home, pop in the game, and start killing things and finding badass guns. Oops. Turns out that Borderlands isn’t that exciting from the get-go. In fact, I quit playing after a while because it was TOO boring. I was bored through most of the Arid Badlands, and just quit. Eventually I went back to it and found that the story picks up pretty rapidly after that. Plus, you start finding the really fun weapons. Eventually, I put enough hours into Borderlands to max out a character, finish both playthroughs, and raise a few more characters to respectable levels.

Fast forward to Monday night. I got to Best Buy around 11:45 for the midnight release of Borderlands 2. Other than a brief hands-on at the Gearbox booth during PAX East, I hadn’t followed much about the game at this point other than the fact that its more Borderlands. Sure, I’ve seen a few trailers, and I know the character classes, but I purposely avoided any story information because I wanted it to be fresh. Shortly after they opened the doors, I bought my copy and headed home.

Since I’d already promised my Gunzerker skills to the crack team of ChurchsWife (Siren), KnucklesDawson (Commando), and evilcrash9 (Assassin), and since we weren’t going to be playing for another 2 hours (Midnight PST), I decided to go ahead and start the game as a Commando and play until they were ready to go. Cue more colors than all of Borderlands 1 (Blue! And green! And still some brown, but that’s cool!), lots and lots of guns, and a much better start than the first game. Maybe its because I already know and love Borderlands, but this game seemed to start a lot faster than the original. Looking back, they both have the same premise (Do a few basic quests in an empty town), but they felt very different.

When it finally came time to join my aforementioned teammates, I switched over to my Gunzerker, and we went to work. Borderlands is infinitely more fun when experienced in a group. We laughed, we swore, we killed, we killed some more, we argued over loot, we shared loot… we had a blast! We played for about 3 hours, then called it quits until the next day when we played for another 4 or so. So far this is one of my favorite experiences in my long history of gaming. Co-op gameplay at its finest!

If a Borderlands 3 is ever made, I’d like to see them expand the co-op a bit. I imagine they playtested this at some point and it just didn’t work, but I’d like to see more players at once. Perhaps 6? To me, “the more the merrier” applies. I think the Borderlands universe is also ripe for an MMO with a persistent world and TONS of players. Not sure if Gearbox would go that route, but the IP seems suited for it.

If you don’t see me for the next few days/weeks/months, you’ll probably want to check my Xbox LIVE status. Odds are, I’ll be exploring Pandora to find that gun that’s just right. And if you know anything about Borderlands, you know that could take a VERY long time


Gaming on a Schedule

For the last week I’ve tried something different, I’ve actually planned out my gaming time. In the interest of having more fun and getting back into games, I made myself a structured schedule for my gaming. Here’s what it looks like so far:

Monday – Xbox
Tuesday – PC
Wednesday – Wii
Thursday – PC
Friday – Xbox
Saturday – Free-for-all
Sunday – No schedule

I’ve made a few discoveries on the way…

First, Super Monday Night Combat is tons of fun and everyone should play it. I mean, I knew it was fun, but I’m really getting back into it. I generally play Combat Girl, but I’ve been known to hop in as a Gunner every now and then. If you enjoy TF2, I’m sure you’ll enjoy SMNC. If you want to play on Tuesday or Thursday, I’ll be on. Steam name is GB700.

Second, Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is awesome, but I need more. I think this is the first game that I’ve really NEEDED DLC for. I’ve just about maxed out my skater of choice (My Avatar), and I’ve unlocked all the levels. I’ve got a few more goals to go in some of the later levels, but otherwise I’m pretty much finished with the game. I can’t wait for the THPS3 DLC that’s coming, but it bums me out that you won’t be able to use revert in the levels already released. I also wish they would expand the soundtrack a bit more, and give you control over what songs are played. While I think the base soundtrack is great, there are some songs that I’m just not a fan of, and I’d like to be able to disable them.

Third, I definitely have times where I’m just plain not in the mood to play games. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes I’m just not feeling it. I think I may overestimate myself as a gamer. For example, while in the Caymans I had grand plans to play Civ5 and some 3DS while just chilling on the beach or in the room, but I only touched them once each. I barely played my 3DS on the plane rides. I have a ton of GOOD games for my 360 that I’m just “meh” about. I’m on a big nostalgia kick right now and I’ve been wanting to go back and play a bunch of older games, but I find that when I fire them up I only want to play about 10-15 minutes and then I’m done. Am I turning into a, GASP, casual gamer? No. But my tastes have definitely changed in the last few years.


How many times have I said I’m going to start blogging regularly again?

Add one to that count.

So many things have happened since my last post that I’ve got quite a few posts to make to catch up. My recent vacation/recharge really made me want to rededicate myself to enjoying my life. I’ve been working like crazy for many months, both at my real job and with SideQuest/RTX, so I want to get back to having fun by playing more video games, reading books, blogging, etc. Step one is going to be creating a gaming schedule. I want to plan out when and what I play, and do so in a way that I optimize my enjoyment. I also want to recap RTX and SideQuest, as well as my vacation. As far as books go, I’ve finally started building my digital library via Amazon’s Kindle store, and I’m working my way through several books. I’m also looking into ComiXology as a way to keep up with comics, but I think that might end up being a bit too expensive of a habit for me.

So basically, you’ll be seeing more of me over the next few weeks/months. At least until football season starts. Then we all know where I’ll be!

PS: I’m also going to finally kill the absurd thought that I’m actually going to build a website from the ground up. It turns out WordPress is way more than a blogging platform (Thanks Kraft!) and can do some awesome stuff, so I’m going to explore what I can do within that framework and probably move all of this over to the root of instead of having it reside at /blog