Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gaming Euphoria...

It is right to assume that sports banter is not all that I would bring to this myriad of online disfunctionality and cynicism with a name like The 8Bit Chris. I am a HUGE gamer. Having been around them for 25+ years of my life and having just exited stage left from the hellish retail bane known as GameStop/EB Games as a manager(I feel your pain know,) just last February- I'd say I know my stuff. Jay can attest to my geekdom. But it is a badge I wear proudly. I just returned from an elongated Festivius break. Went on break the 14th, back today. Not bad. In that course of time I managed to play A LOT of games. New and old. Console and handheld. Plenty for the taking. All for the liking. The wife went and got me Heroes season one and Planet Earth for my birthday and holiday gifting enjoyment, while Jay hooked me up with season one of Dexter. So those will most definitely be cramping my game time. (SIDEBAR: Get that strike settled. We are missing quality programs people! I don't want a rebirth of reality television...that is another blog altogether.) So back to the games... In the last minute shopping that I had left (my apologies to other posters here...) I found myself thwarting off kids at a Best Buy Wii kiosk while playing Super Mario Galaxy. Having grown up with the guy (Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros.) and see him evolve (Super Mario 64) and expand (Super Mario Sunshine, Paper Mario, all the other countless Mario token titles made to help sell consoles...) I can honestly say that SMG appeal combined with the intuitive controls has made me want to duke it out with a soccer mom or two to get my hands on a Wii. I'm still holding off though. Them being hard to find is not the only problem. Nintendo's Seal of Quality (remember that little gold sticker?) has taken a blind eye to what it once stood for by green lighting shovelware and utter shit for the sake of the mighty Yen, and the sanity and pocketbook of hardcore gamers. Their first party titles have never been in question, but their third party support was what sank the N64 and brought about the early demise of the Gamecube. And the Wii looks to be following suit. It looks like Nintendo Player 5.o. So unless I feel like playing a game every four months that is actually worth a shit (READ: Zelda, Metroid, SMG, Super Smash Brothers and the like...) I'll hold off. It is still early in the little white box's lifecycle to see if the controls are just a gimmick. But for 250 bones, eh? Who knows... gimmick or not it looks like fun. People wrote off the DS too when it first came out because the dual screen was viewed as a fad as well. It just outsold PS3 and Xbox 360 COMBINED for the holiday season. That does not even include the 12 to 1 sales ratio it has had over the PSP for the past year. Fad my ass. I have yet to justify the purchase of a PS3. Perhaps for the Blu-ray. But I have an HD player for my 360- and they look identical. Moving on... I put in quite a few hours with Call of Duty 4. For those of you uninitiated by the greatness that is Infinity Ward, yes- they did 1 and 2. Treyarch was responsible for the steaming turd that was COD3. It was shit. Utter and complete shit. Anyone who tells you otherwise has no soul. Or is partially blind with no real sense of enjoyment. And it looks like Activision/Vivindi -Blizzard is whoring out Treyarch again to do 5- so you have been warned. CoD4 has been taken out of the all too familiar (although fun in their scope,) realm of WWII and brought into the modern day. The single player experience is the usual scripted roller coaster ride with its bevy of tense encounters and absolute "holy shit," moments. There is a plot twist mid game that makes the shallow and convoluted storyline of Halo 3 seem even more trite and forgettable this year. But where this game absolutely shines and sores (and if you ask any real PC CoD fan- the reason you by the game,) is in the online component. You gain experience from winning (and even loosing,) matches. As you level up you get more perks and better weapons. This has added an almost MMO appeal to the game. You max out at level 55, but you can enter Prestige mode and drop back down to level one (loosing all that you have accumulated in the process,) But now you will have a special insignia by your name and your weapons will be colored differently in the game. You have the option to do this three times. So in theory being a level 55 for the third time is like a level 165. That and you need to get out of the house. See some titties. They are nice. I am currently at the initial level 33. How far I get is dictated by the length of the honey do list and the amount of tv the Mrs. and I watch. My wife is a saint. Tolerates my gaming habit and watches ESPN with me. HOMERUN! This year they have added Create a Character and class perks to customize your character to tailor the way you play. Want an undetectable long range sniper with surface penetrating shots and spot protective C4? Check. Want a run and gun heavy gunner who, when killed, can draw his pistol one last time to try and take out the punk who dropped you? Check. My personal favorite? I call it the Jihad Perkset. I have an Uzi with a silencer that has double the ammo output (fires twice as many bullets per shot,) and a perk called Martyrdom. When I die I drop a live grenade. Anyone within 10 feet of me? BOOM! And I get the kill posthumously. So I tend to just find groups of baddies and run into them shooting and stabbing away (your melee is a knife...) until someone kills me then BOOM! Wow! I never realized how creepy that really sounded until right now. Moving on... it really is a good game. Do yourself a favor and play it. Ok... Rock Band: 179.99 Setlist: Check. Rockaway Beach, Ballroom Blitz, Suffragette City, Queen Bitch, Moonage Daydream, Detroit Rock City, Foreplay/Long Time, Wave of Mutilation, Welcome Home, Gimmie Shelter, ENCORE: Tom Sawyer, Run to the Hills, Blackened "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! PLEASE WELCOME TO THE STAGE... RoCKAPODAMuS!" Jamming half drunkenly in what reminds you of the band days of your college yesteryear? PRICELESS. Watching your ubergeek friends with no musical talent or coordination attempt to jam half drunkenly? ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS. Rock Band may cost a pretty penny- but it is my Game of the Year. It is the best same room multiplayer gaming experience that I have had since the Goldeneye N64 days. Hands down. I would be down for a Fitz competition. Bring it... Jay- work your magic. I do need to devote some more time to Mass Effect and skate. But I also have a room that is on the verge of out of control and a wife with a new gym membership... We'll see how it goes. For now- episode three of Heroes and holiday leftovers. You kids behave. Peace. T8BC

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