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o1d5ch001 Bob's blog

10:00 PM on 10.05.2010

Hitchin' My Cart to the Belated Intro Bandwagon

I decided it is finally time to properly introduce myself to you wonderful folks. How rude of me to write such astonishingly verbose and thought-provoking blog posts without first giving you a peek into my existence. So here we go: a short biography followed by some pertinent lists. Also, BALLS.

My given name is Robert, though on the streets (of rage) I go by various iterations of that name. I, as well as many of my compatriots, prefer Bobby. I am twenty-five years old. I was born and raised just north of Dayton, Ohio. I attended Wilmington College (OH) and graduated with a Bachelor's in History in 2008. This degree has not served me well since graduation but I am currently in pursuit of further education to finally make something of myself. I met my wife, Mrs. O1d5ch001, at Wilmington, so I guess it wasn't a total loss. Here is a picture of us:

We live in a super rural, super small Mayberry-like town in the greater Cincinnati area. We have a dog, Henry:

and a cat, Otto D. Gato:

Aside from video games, here are a few things that I get genuinely excited about:

All types of music (excluding contemporary country and top-40 rap), movies, the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Browns, readin', 'riting, playing guitar, and mostly any type of food.

Here are a few things that I am not particularly fond of:

NASCAR, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cleveland Indians, 'rithmetic, overzealous right-wing talking head types, smelly neo-hippies.

Now that all that is out of the way, on to the important stuff!!

I was first introduced to video games through my dad's Odyssey 2. I was only 2 or 3 years old, but I knew that thing was a piece of shit.

My sister and I received our first proper console (NES) for Christmas when I was 4 or 5. We played a lot of Mario 1 and 3, TMNT 2, Tetris, and Dr. Mario. I dabbled in Yo! Noid (but that was a dark time in my life).

I was lucky enough to receive a Super Nintendo a few years later for Christmas, and I certainly played the hell out of that thing. That system lasted from 1992 until that's longevity, folks. The SNES remains my favorite console with some of my most cherished and favorite games of all time. We'll get to that later, though.

I've been fortunate enough to own most major consoles since those days (excluding Sega products). I definitely prefer console to PC gaming. I'm not a die-hard Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft guy; I'm just interested in playing the best, most fun games regardless of platform. I used to own a Wii, then I traded up to a 360. I recently got a PS3, so I'm sure I'll be catching up with PS3 exclusive games for a while. I still play a lot of video games (maybe too much), but I try not to let them interfere with the more important aspects of my life. Here is a picture of some of the games I play:

(don't hate on my collection of music games, I can actually play a variety of real musical instruments too. Therefore, I am cool and not a nerd.)

This is the area where I play those games:

If I had to make a list of my Top Ten Favorite Games of All Time!!!, it would probably go like this:
(in no particular order, and always subject to change)

Super Mario World
Chrono Trigger
Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past
Metal Gear Solid
Shadow of the Colossus
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Metroid
Okami (Wii Version)

If I had to pick my favorite games of this current generation, it would go like this:

Super Mario Galaxy
Fallout 3
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Mass Effect 2
Halo: Reach

I welcome any and all critiques and debate about that list, so do your worst.

It's been great to become a part of this community and to read everyone's thoughts, musings and insight. I hope this post wasn't too much of an ego trip. Destructoid has been a great place to put thoughts on page and I look forward to continuing to read and 'rite here. Hopefully without too much 'rithmetic.

And, as promised in the beginning, BALLS:


1:56 PM on 09.30.2010

Halo: Reach or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Relevance and Just Write

I intended to finish writing this awhile back, but job searching, grad-school applying, wife-attending to, and Reach playing have caused numerous (but necessary and not unimportant delays). I also recently completed my hyper-expensive correspondence course "How to Become a Microsoft Paint Expert in Under Ten Years", the benefits of which will be evident throughout this review.

So I've never been a HUGE Halo fan.

As with mostly all things Xbox, I arrived to the franchise pretty late. I didn't play the original Halo until 2008, when I borrowed my friend's original Xbox. I enjoyed the gameplay, even though I felt some of the level design was pretty tedious. The idea of the "story" interested me, as well. I finished the game and moved right into Halo 2. The environments were more varied and interesting and the great gameplay remained just as I had remembered. The story left quite a bit to be desired, but I was still intrigued.

Fast forward to early 2010 when I finally bought a 360. I played through BioShock, Fallout 3, and numerous other games before deciding to try out Halo 3. The first thing I noticed? "Oooh shiny textures!!!" I thought the game looked great and, like usual, I enjoyed playing through it. I didn't really get super excited about the wrap-up of the whole Halo story; by the end, I just wanted to finish the damn game and never have to fight the Flood ever again.

Now, fast forward to the beginning of release week. I wasn't all hot and bothered to play Reach. I figured I would wait a few months and see what kind of longevity it had, then pick it up for 30 bucks or so. Hamza's review piqued my interest, though. Then, I saw some of the multiplayer videos that he posted, and I got a little chub. The Sunday before Reach dropped, when I started playing a copy of ODST that I picked up on the cheap a few weeks ago, I got super pumped about Halo. I actually enjoyed the "exploratory" missions that broke up the action. I thought the story and the way it was put together was intriguing. Driving down the highway towards the end of the game actually brought back fond memories of Halo 2. I decided the following Monday night that I would pick up a copy of Reach on release day.

This was my first ever launch-day purchase of any game ever. I took a leisurely stroll into gamestop and declined the clerk's offer to sell me the Legendary Edition (my wife would KILL ME). The regular-joe edition would suit me just fine.

When I started the campaign, I noticed the subtle tweaks to the graphics. The action got kind of blurry and almost had a cinematic feel to it. Maybe it was just my low hertz HDTV, maybe it was intentional. Either way, I thought the game looked great. The controls were tight and responsive; everything seemed pretty cool. Later that night I played through the rest of the campaign co-op with some coworkers. We had a blast. The campaign was short, but action-packed and intense. People gripe about the characters and how "it was a good idea but wasn't fully fleshed out and didn't really break new ground blahablabhaldfjsdf". Personally, I don't give a damn about the other members of noble team.

I appreciated the rest of the story though. I mean, we all know what's going to happen at the end; it's the journey to that eventual demise that is a wonder to behold. I think it's pretty cool that Bungie made a game that you know you can't technically "win" but will still play through like you have a chance of changing the outcome. I thought new elements like the space combat and helicopter piloting were quite well done, as well.

The various multiplayer modes run the gamut from "Total Blast" to "Gutwrenchingly Awful Experience Being Repeatedly Hacked to Death and Subsequently Mocked by A Plasma Sword-Wielding Pre-Teen During Your Fourth Unwanted Infection Match". Did I mention that I think Infection is the worst MP game type I've played on any game EVER?

I look forward to software upgrades that separate these game types into different playlists. Minimal griping aside, as Reach provided my first experience playing Firefight, I have become quite addicted to those various modes (particularly Gruntpocalypse). I enjoy the barely-reigned in chaos provided by Headhunter, as well. I enjoy the fact that the ranking/credit system only provides aesthetic benefits for players rather than unbalanced gun upgrades or perks a la COD and BC2; as a multiplayer amateur, the level playing field is much appreciated. Unlocking new commendations and the various medals is also quite gratifying. Playing Halo multiplayer is a new and wonderfully fun experience for me, and I know Reach will provide much enjoyment for the next few months. Hopefully I can raise my abysmal K/D ratio sometime before the world ends in 2012.

Playing Reach has caused me to go from Halo stoic to full-fledged aficionado in the course of a few days. I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of the various game modes (not to mention the Forge), so I still have a lot to look forward to, and in the near future I hope to have new maps and (fingers crossed) multiplayer space combat. Reach's solid, albeit short campaign coupled with a multiplayer experience that will easily consume weeks of gameplay time nets Bungie's final Halo release a 9/10 from this cowboy.

In related news, I found out that the delicious McRib made an appearance in my vicinity, but has since returned to hibernation. I love the tasty McRib in all its imitation rib-glory, slathered in cheap barbecue sauce and loaded with pickles and onions, but I couldn't justify driving 25 minutes just for a fast food sandwich. I guess I missed out this year, so sadly, I guess there is just one thing I can say:


11:57 AM on 08.31.2010

My Irrational Fear - Co-Op Multiplayer

To me, nothing is more relaxing after a long day than coming home and firing up a video game for an hour or two (or eight). I love getting sucked into a great storyline, appreciating the environments, and doing things I could never dream of doing in real life. Most of all, I like that I'm alone.

It's not that I don't enjoy playing online. One of the first games I got for 360 was Modern Warfare 2. I tired of it pretty quickly, but I had a good time playing competitive online for a few weeks. Always flying solo, never Team Deathmatch. In the weeks leading up to Bad Company 2, I got pretty excited about their multiplayer engine. I was enticed by the huge maps and objective based games. I picked up a copy, played through the campaign pretty rapidly, then hit up the online play. What a terrifying experience.

I just couldn't keep up. I was getting picked off left and right, never able to make any progress and unlock new weapons because I couldn't get anything done. Being a part of a team and failing to make any sort of reasonable contribution (except as an easy target for the opposing team) left me feeling inadequate. Getting made fun of by the teenagers on my squad was also pretty rad. This scenario played out repeatedly over the course of a month. After that, I just couldn't take it anymore, and dejected, I returned BC2 to my local gamestop in exchange for a game I could play by myself.

I was pretty late to the game picking up a 360, so most of my playing time is dedicated to older games that I missed out on. I work at a used game retailer, giving me a lot of resources to mine in this regard. I recently picked up a copy of Left 4 Dead, out of simple curiosity. Surprisingly, my wife LOVES to play L4D. We have a lot of fun playing offline splitscreen, even though the teammate A.I. is godawful. I know this wasn't Valve's intended purpose for this game, and most of the fun comes from repeated playthroughs with actual human teammates. I want to play online. I really do. Unfortunately, I am absolutely TERRIFIED.

A million scenarios play out in my head: What if I disturb the witch? Or accidentally spray my teammates with bullets? Or don't heal them enough or revive them quickly enough for their standards?? I love the simple gameplay of L4D, but that shit gets super hectic. I am definitely afraid of under performing. This fear, coupled with the potential humiliation of being on the receiving end of a democratic booting procedure, is almost more than I can handle. My pride is still damaged from the Battlefield debacle, and I don't think I can take another co-op failure, or else I may have to hang up the headset for good.

I miss the good ol' days of sitting next to a buddy and playing on the same screen. In this setting, triumph was more tangible, and defeat much easier to digest. Being ridiculed by a faceless entity over an internet connection just feels degrading. At times, I'm even hesitant to play online with friends. I feel out of touch, isolated, left behind. Am I getting too old to play video games, or am I just being a nancy? Am I alone in this fear, or are there other LIVEophobes out there?   read

11:25 AM on 08.27.2010

Stupid Achievements

Let me begin by saying that I really enjoy reading Destructoid and I find that a lot of the community members have many interesting and thought-provoking things to say. I decided this morning to take the plunge and become a part of the community here. I am super pumped to be a part of an open forum where people have the right to share their thoughts and opinions. But for now:

Okay folks, I know I'm super late to the game with this one, but I just finished Assassin's Creed II last night. I didn't particularly enjoy playing the first AC, but I wanted to experience the story going into AC2. The sequel was head and shoulders above the original game in nearly every aspect. I found myself barely able to put down the controller and step away from the game. I enjoyed the environments and the greater mission variety. I loved the glyph puzzles and the eerie mood they created. Initially, I thought upgrading the villa would be burdensome and boring, but I ended up enjoying building it up throughout the game. I was totally hooked throughout the whole experience.

As I progressed through the game, I found that the achievements were fairly easy to earn. Most were plot derived, which I definitely enjoy, though there were a few that called for some inane tasks to be completed. I wouldn't consider myself an achievement whore, but I was excited at the possibility of finally unlocking every achievement for a game. I finished the main story with 960 points. The remaining 40 come from tracking down the 100 feathers scattered throughout the entire game then completing some other silly task based on your reward. I've invested quite a bit of time in AC2, and reasonably enjoyed every minute of it. I cannot, however, justify spending the time necessary to traipsing across the rooftops of every locale in the game to find 70 more feathers. There are too many other great games to play, and even more coming out in the near future. Not to mention that the weather in southwest Ohio is currently beautiful and I should probably be taking my dog for a walk.

Even though I was slightly perturbed (enough to write my first ever blog post) by my inability to get the full 1000 gamerscore for AC2, the experience made me realize how pointless Achievements and the meaningless points attached to them really are. What are our rewards as gamers when we unlock achievements and grow that gamerscore to greater and greater heights? Satisfaction? Admiration? Notoriety? If any of you potential readers are like me, none of these are typical outcomes of unlocking achievements. The only response my gamerscore elicits is the disdain of my wife. Imagine this scenario: "Hey babe, how was your day? Guess what!! I totally (insert redundant task here) 30 times and got 20 points for it. Impressed? Thought so. Let us commence fornication, after which you can cook me dinner." Has indignantly mentioning your gamerscore ever gotten you out of a speeding ticket or convinced your parents that you got a "C" on your midterm because the professor just has it out for you? Not terribly likely.

I see the higher gamerscore of my friends on Live, and I don't think to myself "Wow...over 20,000. I am in awe of this person's gaming prowess. I could never hope to be that caliber of gamer. I may as well just give up now." I see this person as a fellow fan of video games that either really, REALLY enjoys certain games, or is totally okay with spending an inordinate amount of time roaming a virtual countryside hunting down that last wild boar. It's certainly not up to me to decide whether or not the time spent earning that last achievement could be better used elsewhere, but chances are, yes, it could have been.

I love my 360 and have been endlessly entertained by the variety of awesome games and the ease of online play with my friends. I will continue to feed my seemingly endless appetite for new, great games without a second thought. I will gladly play these games one at a time until the campaign is over or I feel like that multiplayer has nothing left to offer, and the only signature "bleeps" I will look forward to will be those of my friends signing on. I think Nintendo has it right (as they often have in the past) with the Wii. There is no gamerscore, but there is the little notepad in the messages folder that lets you know you played Tiger Woods for 8 hours the other night. Don't you feel you've really achieved something after finding that out?   read

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