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I'm a craps dealer at a casino in Southern California. My job revolves around table games... My leisure time is consumed mostly with video games. My life is one big meaningless game.

Consoles - XBox 360, Nintendo Wii

Favorite games: Halo 3 (online every night), Bioshock, Grand Theft Auto(s), Tiger Woods PGA Tour(s), Rockband 2, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry 2, James Bond titles, Super Mario titles, Super Mario Kart(s)

There remains a special place in my heart for old Turok titles. The games were truly awesome and could have remained that way, becoming legendary, had their production been kept in the right hands. RIP, Iguana.

I'm currently boycotting anything with an Activision logo.

Following (12)  

9:09 PM on 02.09.2010

I moved recently and gave up on Gamefly 'cuz I was under the impression my nightlife would improve in a new area of the country, thereby rendering my console useless for a while.

Swing and a miss...

Strolled into Blockbuster a week ago. Left with WET and Dante's Inferno.

This isn't meant to be a true review as much as simply tossing a bone out there in case someone's been neglecting their console and video games for bit, or perhaps to someone on the fence as to whether or not to give these games a try.

For starters, WET is fun. It's more fun than it is technically impressive. It wouldn't surprise me a bit to hear countless D-Troiders label this title a "rent-only." But I also imagine upon reading that most D-Troiders would turn their nose up at the game. A lot of times when we hear something isn't worth buying we immediately figure it probably isn't worth playing either.

Most of you would agree - it's sincerely worth playing. It's sloppy as hell and repetitive in nature, but I got a huge kick out of it. There's definitely more that could have been done with it, but you can't help but appreciate what little they gave you. The grainy visuals, the soundtrack, and the story all make for quite an entertaining experience. Think Kill Bill with a twist of Matrix. It's just fun, plain and simple.

Dante's Inferno didn't look like my kind of game... 'til I saw the commercial for it. True, it's yet another ad comprised mostly of cut-scenes that never make it into the game, but I think it was necessary for this title. What should easily impress you most about this is that the graphics are simply stunning. The visual representations of hell are pretty fucking twisted and beautiful at the same time, and I found myself at times just stopping the game's character in his tracks to marvel at the scenery. Morbid, creepy, and relatively disturbing, you can't help but give the creators of the game major kudos for bringing their interpretation of hell to life. It truly seems like a piece of art.

Gameplay lacks a bit, no one's gonna argue about that. The main characters moved seem mapped right over each even when performing something different. And the AI the enemies are granted doesn't help things at all. In some spots the game is reduced to mere button-mashing, distancing the character a bit, and then more button mashing. But some of the ways you're allowed to disperse of enemies are so graphic that you can't help but enjoy yourself. Very graphic. Very twisted. For every way the game annoys you it'll bounce back and visually amaze you.

If there's anything the above-mentioned games lack, it's just good ol' fashioned mechanics. WET has an awesome story and feels like you're playing through a Tarantino flick, but you're always left feeling like you wish you had another set of moves or a better environment to operate inside. Dante's Inferno feels a lot like an old school session of Double Dragon from time to time, but just traversing the inner circles of hell to dazzling visuals was enough to keep me entertained.

I returned today to pick up Bioshock 2.

I drove home with a sense of urgency.

I honestly felt no words ever did the first game justice. It was clearly one of the most unique experiences I'd ever gotten from a video game.

An hour in, and the same can be said for the second installment. I won't even bother with details. If you're playing it tonight you're enjoying yourself.


It may seem a bit retarded to write about a game that isn't truly considered old yet. And I'm old enough (and lucky enough) to have seen a lot of classics.

I watched video games go from a black and white display to color. I watched Pong give way to Asteroids on the Atari 2600. Intellivision. Caleco. I played games on the dinosaurs of the gaming console world in my youth. The arcade my parents owned and operated became my after school babysitter. Pac Man, Defender, Space Invaders, Joust... Please tell me someone out there remembers a game called Berzerk. It was a childhood favorite. Centipede, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong Jr. Got the NES in fifth grade... You get the picture, right?

With what seems like an eternity filled to the brim video games, from cabinet to console, one of the ones I feel worst about leaving behind is Rogue Squandron III: Rebel Strike. It's only been maybe five years since I last played the thing, but it seems like eons ago.

"The force, Luke. Use it... quickly."

As opposed to further rambling focused on the Star Wars franchise and how its awesomeness knows no bounds, I'll just say I'm a fan and move on... And it also explains my love and adoration for the game mentioned above. To go from dreaming about piloting an X-Wing Fighter to actually controlling the ship's arsenal and flight with two thumbs was extraordinarily surreal. The Nintendo Gamecube, now mocked by my XBox and Playstation 2 owning friends and referred to as the "lunchbox," did the game as much justice as could possibly be served at that point. Surprisingly superb graphics and smooth gameplay made this game an instant winner for me before I'd even mastered the controls.

This game was a must for any Nintendo-owning (or PC-owning) Star Wars fan. Scenes and lines from the movies had you thinking "I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself."

And the Battle of Endor? Yeah. Instant wood. The screenshot below doesn't do it justice (because it's early in the level), but it was easily one of the better dogfight type environments I'd ever been exposed to. Playing the level in Boba Fett's unlockable ship or the Millennium Falcon made for a nice challenge, as could be said for all the levels.

What set this game apart from the earlier titles in the series was the multiplayer mode, so you were no longer sitting there hogging up the entertainment but instead flying side-by-side with a friend... perhaps an XBox owner who was now shutting his trap and ceasing in his mockery of the cube-shaped "lunchbox" he was now playing on. And when you found a buddy talented enough to blow through each level with flying colors, racking up gold medals all along the way even with you piloting a less-than-agile Millennium Falcon? Jackpot. Delivering the final blow to the Deathstar in the last level and making it out alive would result huge sighs of relief. And it never seemed to get old.

In '04 I moved a couple thousand miles from home and entered the world of XBox Live to keep playing games with displaced friends. I've not seen my Cube since.

God I miss this game. I hope someone out there can relate.

May the force be with you...
Photo Photo Photo

10:12 PM on 09.06.2009

"Please don't... Please... do not do that."

I talked to her. I laid a gentle hand on her. I begged, I pleaded... I sat there on my knees and stared at her, lovingly but with a sense of urgency on my face. I let out the most frustrated sigh ever known to man and felt my heart sink like a freshly torpedoed sea vessel. The muscle below my right eye began twitching uncontrollably and it helped eject a single tear that had built up on my bottom eyelid. And as it streamed down my cheek I leaned back with my arms outstretched, lifted my head towards the heavens and uttered "Why?... Whyyyyyyyyy?"

My XBox died a couple weeks ago. No warning sign. No "Dear John" letter. Not even one final fling for old times' sake. I hit the power button only to be greeted by three little flashing red arcs... the infamous Red Rings of Death.

Later on that night I cried and became borderline-suicidal over its demise. I held it in my arms, performed CPR, said things like "Don't you leave me... *sniffle*... I'll never let go," and went though an entire box of Kleenex as I sobbed and shared stories of the good times we'd had together to a living room full of friends. I then surfed the web looking for similar horror stories and possible remedies, and found three options.

So while everyone was out in the living room I roamed to the bathroom to grab towels. I came back out to other room where my big-screen and gaming accessories are situated. I wrapped my lifeless XBox in four towels... whispering gently "You're gonna be okay... You're gonna make it" through a tightened jaw and quivering lips.

While it was wrapped I waited patiently, pacing like a family member outside the ICU in a hospital.

I picked up my acoustic guitar and played a soothing Jack Johnson tune to it.

I put my ear up to it, and felt for a pulse.

The withdrawal symptoms had already begun. I tapped my foot repeatedly and chewed my nails. The thought of all my buddies playing round after round of Halo without me promptly forced rage-filled jealous thoughts.

Long story short, it came back to life. She came back to me... for a little while anyway.

The rings showed themselves again and I'm sending her in. I got the shipping label today, and Monday I'll place her in a box and mail her away to operated on.

I'm trying to cope. Sergio Mendez's "Never Wanna Let You Go" will be playing in my head as I leave the post office, wishing her a safe and prompt return. In the meantime my friend Blue will be running the show. IT's true, folks. You don't know what you got 'til it's gone... Tell you're console you love it before it's too late.

I enjoy perusing past community blogs and seeing what people have had to say about games of yore. I get off on nostalgia, and it's cool to read about the games that have infused people with such memories. I think we all have a deep-seeded desire to identify with people who've played a certain game and just know what it meant to them and the place in time it represented.

At least I hope we do. I don't wanna be alone on this one... although bashing Goldeneye will probably ensure it.

I was sifting through pages of past c-blogs concerning their earliest exposure to multiplayer gaming. If you had to name one game that started it all (if you're within the 25-35 age bracket) you'd probably say Goldeneye. And that's totally fair. The game could easily be considered the fore-father of FPS multiplayer gaming and a vast number of past blogs from this site (and many others) back this idea up nicely.

I played it casually... for about a year. The campaign never got old, but splitting the screen into four and gunning down friends just seemed off. It was choppy. And sloppy.

Then something else came along.

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil came out a year after Goldeneye. And at that point my career as James Bond ended. No tears were shed.

We could debate which game had the better campaign mode and although it'd take a week or so, I think I'd win this one. Weaponry, graphics, sounds, AI, environments, difficulty, boss battles... Kindly place a check-mark next to Turok and we'll move on.

Multiplayer? *grabs megaphone and climbs atop soapbox* Turok was better. *gets booed, but remains*

1) Weapons. They were toned down tremendously in multiplayer and they were still far superior. The Firestorm cannon was nowhere near as fierce, and the Scorpion Launcher fired one missile at a time instead of three consecutively. Didn't matter. Each weapon had its place and it brought a special balance to the multiplayer experience. Even if your enemies reached the more powerful guns before you, there were still ways around being killed. Aim the Charge Dart gun at a foe, zap him, and then switch to your Pistol and aim for his head. The Assault Rifle in Turok was the fore-father of the much-used battle rifle from Halo, FYI. Fires the same exact way. And I wouldn't have the faintest clue as how to snipe in today's games had it not been for the scope afforded by the Plasma Rifle in Turok.

2) Levels. At first glance they seemed overly simple, when in reality they were sheer genius. Whether close-quartered or spread out there was always a place to stalk or just leap into a mess of action from, and the location of weapons ensured that each player had a different approach. Goldeneye's levels were cramped and un-befitting to multiplayer action.

3) Options. The best thing about Turok's multiplayer mode was being able to modify things, most importantly speed. The default setting made for good play, but then once you got things down you could adjust the speed at which your character moves. Tired of running like a scared little girl from a freshly launched Cerebral Bore? Up the speed and you're suddenly rounding a corner to shelter easily. Or in the weapons menu just turn the thing off. Either or. Goldeneye had one speed, and it virtually guaranteed things were all too sloppy.

I don't expect this opinion to be popular, and if it is then rest-assured it's because no one wants to agree with it. Yes, Goldeneye was great. It spawned the multiplayer aspect and gave us a new way to play competitively. Turok 2 improved upon it but no one noticed because Goldeneye's grip wouldn't free you long enough to see it. I'm just tired of it being credited for something when another game did it better. I'd be doing myself a disservice if I didn't share what spawned my undying love for the multiplayer genre and nurtured it for 6 solid years.

If you've still got a 64 I implore you to snag Seeds of Evil, four controllers, and a few buddies and have a go at it. Turn the game's speed up a notch or two once you get familiar with the controls and surroundings. Learn each weapon and perfect them, and bring the pain.

You can thank me later.

I played Halo 2 online from October 2004 'til November 2007. I played approximately 5600 matches in that span, and tended to enjoy each and every one. Win or lose, I find it thoroughly fascinating and its appeal never seems to wear thin.

I am a Halo fanatic... I will always be one. At age 65 I fully expect to still be playing it.

Halo 3 brought the usual weapons, along with something new we'd never encountered before. Behold, the Spartan Laser. I remember stumbling upon it the first night I jumped into the multiplayer mode way back when, in the level named Snowbound. I picked the thing up 'cuz from afar it looked a lot a rocket launcher, and I was already envisioning explosions and dead bodies flying through the air. My pulse doubled, regardless of whether rockets came out of it or not.

I had no idea what to expect the first time I fired this thing. The 3 seconds it takes to charge turned me off initially. I remember thinking that leaves a whole lot of time to get cut down to size by an enemy before even being afforded the chance to unleash whatever this weapon had inside it. I'm certain I missed at least my first four or five targets. We can assume I killed not a single foe the first time I strolled around with a Spartan Laser on my shoulder.

And I'm fairly certain I swore the thing off for a while, retreating back to the safety and familiarity of a battle rifle.

It's amazing what a little practice can achieve. Once your timing is down and you realize the weapons range and limitations, the weapon becomes one of the most devastating things in your arsenal. Decimate vehicles, on the ground and in the air. Snipe single soldiers... or even a group of them in one shot. When the weapon fires, you know it, your foes know it, and the American people know it. It echoes. And it strikes fear into the hearts of men (or kids) playing.

*Red laser = red smoke... Nice attention to detail*

Just thought I'd share this story and one of my favorite screenshots, and take a moment to thank Bungie for their continued creativity in placing destructive weapons in my hands.

Never judge a gun by its cover.

9:22 PM on 08.25.2009

I'd tried seeking an answer to this question in the forum... only to be told I was off-topic and should be posting it somewhere else. Nevermind that I was asking the question in the "bar" section... and nevermind the fact that two posts directly below my question revolved around things like some dude brewing his own alcohol and the Maury Povich Show.

Go figure.

My question is video game related... one that was played in this movie.

Hackers. Circa 1995 (I think)... Cool movie. Decent actors (one of which is a surprisingly young Angelina Jolie). Good soundtrack. It was one of those flicks you could throw in if you worked as a cashier behind the counter of a video store and not have angry parents come up and complain about they're kids hearing or seeing it.

Happy Gilmore was not one of those movies. I found that out the hard way. You shoulda seen this one particular mom size into me. "Yeah, but they're bleeping the cuss words out, see?" That didn't change her feelings at all.

Anyway, about 20-30 minutes into the Hackers film Johnny Lee Miller's character steps up to this video game displayed on a huge screen. He's at some techno-themed club, and trying to impress Jolie's character. So he steps up to this game and promptly beats her long-standing score on it. All I can recall of the game is that you're moving an object (a ball I think?) down a track filled with obstacles and walls at a high velocity, but the graphics were sick and the game looked like it could have been really fun.

Anybody know whether the game was real? Or was it just a fictional piece to add to the tone of the movie?

It looked fun.