Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dragon Slain in Frenzied Duel

My 360voice challenge has come to an end, with me capturing 3rd place in a field of 72 people, with a final 30-day gain of 15,280 points! (Month in review will be posted tomorrow)

As previously posted, it was a competition for 3rd over the last few days, with DragonYen steadily eroding (and eventually taking) my lead for 3rd place. I managed to close the gap some, so he started just 35 points ahead of me going into the final 24 hours. It was as even a head-to-head for the final challenge-point earning spot as could be asked for. My problem was I needed ammo to have any chance. So, I went to Gamestop and picked up:

Madden 07 (got 600+ points for my $4 purchase! I like that ^-^)
Civil War Secret Missions (not as bad as I had expected.)
Secret Service
Sega Superstars Tennis / Arcade Unplugged

Spectral Force 3 (for post GSL and 100k play)

Madden 07 coughed up over 600 points through simming, while I sat nearby getting a significant amount of homework done (multitasking FTW). With those points on the books, I moved to Civil Bore, which required playing. I went through on Easy and got what I could, though I missed a few collectables. Civil Bore isn't too bad in terms of mechanics, it's just boring and completely unmemorable, with the single most anticlimactic ending of any game I've ever experienced.

I now have a little more ammo for the quest for 100k. Over 1000 points went down yesterday as I managed to pull beyond DragonYen (who put up 700+). I tip my hat to him for a well-fought duel. I really had to earn that 3rd place.

(read the following in an overly dramatic fashion)

With 7k remaining and just 2 weeks of GSL play left, does ThrawnOmega have what it takes to cross the 100k line before the GSL ends? Will he be the 4th member of Hand of Thrawn to do so this season? Will Hand of Thrawn ascend above 5th place? Will yet another KOTOR victory (yawn) bring about world peace? Stay tuned! Same point-whore time! Same point-whore channel!

EDIT: I've taken on Monsters vs. Aliens as my next review. Yeah for review team and GSL multitasking! I pray it's better than Bolt... I hated Bolt...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Emergency Action Required

So, I went away for most of the weekend to visit some friends in St. Paul. I had a fantastic time, as it was all good food, party games, joking around, drinking (I got pretty high up in the clouds myself LOL) and some RE5. It was a total blast, and was 100% worth taking some time away, despite my original reluctance do to a lot of work I still have to finish.

When I got back I was planning on doing some homework and then spending an evening in Gears 2 MP, casually working the long quest for level 100. To my horror, I realize my #3 spot in my 360voice challenge is in major jeopardy. I thought I had a lock on #3 and the 900 challenge points that come with it, but DragonYen's sudden surge has me in fits. I don't want to see a month's worth of hard work result in 0 challenge points. This guy has to go down. This means, sadly, that instead of enjoying my brief break before GSL week 7, I need to go nuts on points tonight and tomorrow and hope my efforts are good enough to pull my ass out of the fire. Right now, I'm trying to sim 60 seasons in NCAA Football 07 while I get my homework done, then it's back to scoring in earnest. I'm going to have to do some massive clean-up action over the next 31 hours, and maybe rent something.

On the bright side, this will help me inch closer to 100k by the end of the GSL, but I'm already combatting achievement burn-out and the serious need to get some work done. It'll all work out (things always do), but I may be in a state of frenzied insanity until this freaking challenge ends.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Achievement Unlocked: Be the #4

The release of my review of Fallout 3's "The Pitt" DLC marks my 14th review, which feels like a personal milestone to me. While I no longer count how many reviews people have done (other than myself) I remember their was a 2-way tie (tempararily 3-way while I was there) for 4th most reviews at 13. 4th is now mine, with only 1. japanape 2. Webb and 3. Pants ahead of me. All three of them are great reviewers, and a pleasure to work with, so it's nice be be inching closer to such distinguished company.

I'm now officially x360a's #4 most prolific reviewer, and I've been on the job just 7 months. Why do I care? I really don't know... I just love stupid useless stats, I guess. I'm grateful for the opportunity to combine two of my favorite things (writing + games) and provite useful information and (hopefully) entertainment to others. I love reviewing, and take pride in every new notch on the war belt. So here's to 14 down, and hopefully many more to come. Thanks for all the support I've recieved along the way. It's wonderful to know one's efforts are appreciated.

No idea yet what my next review will be. Perhaps Banjo's DLC if jackanape doesn't have the game anymore or want the DLC, or perhaps some retail game. Dunno. When it comes to what I review, I don't mind surprises =P

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Look to the Future

In less than 60 days, a very scary thing is going to happen... I'm going to graduate from college. I don't mind change (existing at point B when I used to be at point A) but I hate the transition phase (shifting from A to B). Graduation marks a very big transition, where I will have to go out and find a "real" job. What is an English and Sociology major good for? What kind of job could I actually get? While the search is young, I have some ideas of there to start looking:

Game Journalism

I realistically do not expect a game-related writing job fresh from college, but there's no reason not to try, right? I already have a portfolio of reviews thanks to my work for x360a, which I would like to pad with a few more editorials to be written for this blog. Then the resumes will fly, and we'll see what happens.

Publishing Houses

These are more of a gateway into game journalism than I thought, and I'll admit I shouldn't have missed the link, but hey, we all make mistakes. While jobs here may not be game related, they would be similar in nature to game journalism jobs, and require my writing skills in a professional setting, which would allow me to establish myself as someone who knows what they're doing.

US Census Bureau

Switching to the Sociology side, I'm pretty sure I could get a job in the US Census Bureau, and I assure you that job isn't as boring as it probably sounds. I'm skilled at data gathering and survey creation, and Soc majors have the knowledge of demographics and sampling procedures necessary for the job. ...Still sounds boring, doesn't it? I guess you just have to be a Sociology major... Government work comes with some good benefits, though I would not get rich. This obviously wouldn't help me much on the quest for game journalism, but I'll settle for happily employed for a while post-graduation.

Social Media Analyst

That's a job description, not a place. It's a pretty new title, and these people are responsible for analyzing blogs, social networks (facebook, myspace, etc.), web pages, and more, to determine the messages they're giving out, and how they could be received. These people often work with the marketing departments of companies, as I understand it. This is still something I need to look into more, but it sounds right up my alley, and could possibly even lead to a different sort of career in the game industry, depending on how things develop.

Where I'll end up is anyone's guess, and life as I know it ends on May 16th. Where things go from there should be... interesting, to say the least.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Resident Evil 5 SUPERPOST

Normally, after I've written a review, I really don't have anything else to say about a game. That's it. If you've read my review, you know how I feel about the game. Even though the RE5 review clocked in at a large 2,000 words, I feel like there's more to be said about the game, in a more casual way, and thus this blog post.

This post has 3 parts:
I - Comments on the game
II - Comments on co-op assistance
III - How to make RE5 a GSL game (Yes, you can! ... with help)


I really, really wanted to give RE5 a 95. I really did. But with the AI (which seems dumber the more I play with her) and the inability to move and shoot, I just couldn't do it. As a fanboy, it's a 95 for me, but to put that score on an objective review would have been too generous. So, RE5 got the same score from me that Dead Space did. One might think that the same score for similar games makes them equally good. This is not the case. Resident Evil 5 is by far the better of the two games, so if you haven't played either, play Dead Space first, so the taste of RE5 doesn't diminish the experience.

What makes RE5 better? Co-op. The ability to play it with friends gives in intrinsic replay value. The levels may be the same, but people make the experience a little different every time. Will it eventually get stale? Of course, but this provides longevity to the game that Dead Space lacks. Playing through story or mercenaries with someone else is great fun.

What makes RE5 better? Unlockable content. Dead Space didn't really have any. RE5 has it in spades. Besides Mercenaries, which is an awesome side-game, the ability to get more costumes, background info files, upgrade every weapon across multiple plays, unlock new weapons, and hunt down infinite ammo for everything keep the game fun for a long time. Dead Space had none of that. I've become a little addicted to upgrading my weapons, and now have close to 28 hours of playtime in RE5, and that number will likely double before I'm done with it. Not bad for a game in which the initial playthrough takes about 9-10 hours.

I've already played through the game 3x, and I'm working on #4. Here's a look at my playthroughs (*denotes possible future plays):

1- Co-op on Normal with Bond x360a, to experience the game.
2- Solo on Easy for BSSA emblems
3- Solo on Easy speed run for Infinite Launcher (CLEAR TIME: 3 hours 7 minutes... and I could have done much better)
4- Solo/co-op with Silva on Veteran
5* -Co-op with Bond on Vet
6*- Co-op (partner TBD) on Professional
7*- Co-op run with Bionik Kommando
8* Co-op run with Bionik Kommando
+ Misc cash motivated mission replays.

As you can see, I'll be playing this for a long while yet.


Part of me has wondered how to handle the issue of me co-oping with my bro (Bionik Kommando) when I have super weapons, and he'll be loading up the game for the first time. How much of a "Big Brother Bonus" will he want? There are several possible tiers:

-I give him no guns or ammo
-I have to buy new and shitty guns, and can't use my upgraded beauties
- I'm not allowed to use infinite ammo (once you have the guns and ammo, you just don't want to give them up!).
- I have to use my stash of ammo (I will still have thousands of rounds stashed away, and I'm drawing from that bank, whether he likes it or not ^-^)
- I'm a blank slate, and offer no advice on bosses or puzzles, so he has to figure out everything, and tell me what he wants me to do.


-I give him no guns, but will supply ammo.
-Support finding BSAA emblems and treasures, since I know where they are.
-Share my knowledge of how to beat bosses, but provide no story spoilers (would never do that anyway)
- This tier can me modified with other needs and ideas.


- I loan him some fully upgraded weapons (or give away, if I have the time to make multiples) and boxes of ammunition.
- Infinite ammo (for me) is enabled.
- With our arsenal, we proceed directly to Veteran, skipping the first play on Normal that nost people need to build up money and guns.

I'll let him decide what kind of help and how much of it he wants from me. Of course, if he's looking for the true rookie experience without someone who knows everything, it may be better to play with the AI or someone else the first time through.


Yes, it can be done! Naturally, you won't get 1000 points, but with assistance, it is possible to run someone through and get them as much as 630 points in 4 hours. That sounds good, right? Here's how you do it:

1. A person who has played the game before and knows it well is REQUIRED. This person has infinite ammo and some serious firepower. This person loans some of their weapons to the person getting points.

2. Play on AMATEUR. I know from experience the game can be sped through in under 4 hours on that difficulty (I did it in just over 3). Rush through, ignoring ammo pickups and unnecessary fights. Only get treasures and BSAA emblems. SKIP ALL CUTSCENES!!!

3. The person with experience will stop for BSAA emblems and treasures as they go. This should still add an hour of time to the run, tops.

4. The person getting points should get all chapter completions, game completion, and many of the combat-related achievements (heals, kills with X weapon, etc.) I'm too lazy to type up the whole list here, but the person with experience will know which ones can be earned on the first play.

There you go, up to 630 points in 4 or so hours. If anyone ties this, please let me know how it works out. In a future GSL (if the benching rule remains), I will be definitely doing it for people. It's no Avatar or 2k6 game, but I think the ease of those points makes it worth the effort.

Monday, March 23, 2009

GSL Week 5: Op. Jedi Gets Kidney-Punched

Well, I once again put up over 4k points in a GSL week, but boy did this week set Operation Jedi back. Let's take a look at the horror and devastation that will take me weeks post-GSL to fix.

Shellshock 2: 255 of 1000

There's a reason people call this game Shells***. Some checkpoints were maddeningly frustrating. I got to Chapter 5 on hard and decided I just couldn't be bothered with it anymore in a GSL. Someday, I'm going to have to suffer this game again, and I'm not looking forward to it.

Madagasgar 2: 275 of 1000

Things went smoothly for a while, until I hit "Wooing Gloria" and had no idea how the hell to impress her with a dive. Tried and failed for 40 minutes. Said F*** it and took it back to blockbuster. Any tips? It wasn't that bad a game, except for that sequence, and I was in no mood for frustration after Shells***.

NCAA Football 09: 400 of 1000

I picked up the most low-hanging fruit of the points here, then brought it back. I'm sure I can rerent this one and get it over 750, I just wasn't in the mood to play a significant amount of football. I'm not too worried about this one, but I don't like that it represents yet another hole I must plug post-GSL. As you can see, once this ends and I hit 100k, the rest of 2009 will be invested in mostly clean-up work. The true quest for a 200k will not even be considered before 2010.

Prince of Persia: 230 of 1250

This game is awesome. After putting up 4k points, I was burned out and in need of something fun to play, so I rented this. I got 230 easy, but didn't have time to continue, as I had to return this to Blockbuster and return to Eau Claire. This one is higher on my priority list for clean-up work, because the game is so much fun. I'll have to play it twice, as I haven't even been trying for "Be gentle with her," and I kinda fell a bunch.

There you have it... 4 new holes, and 0 new completions for the board. What a sad, sad week for Operation Jedi.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Week 5 Update: Doing the Best I Can

I've been working my butt off this week so far to put points up on the board. So far (as of when I type this) I have done:

Stoked - 150 points
Xmen- 125 points
Eat Lead- 910 points
Shellshock 2- 255points
LOTR: Conquest- 375 points

Total = 1,815 and there should still be a lot more coming.

Eat Lead is a terrible game. To anyone looking to use it as a GSL game: Just play the damn thing on easy. The 60 points for higher difficulties aren't worth the time and frustration, unless you're a completionist. Just cruise through on easy, take your easy 900, and get the hell out of there. It had a few funny moments, but the shooting gameplay wasn't spectacularly well done.

Shellshock 2 isn't too bad, though there have already been a few checkpoints that made me want to scream. I had to put that down for LOTR so I could feel I was making progress. Now to continue LOTR. I'm hoping to have that game nearly 1k-ed by the end of the night.

Hopefully, all this effort will get me back into the top 3 in my 360voice challenge...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Where are the SRPGs?

The RE5 review is up on x360a!!! Hurray!!! That was about 18 hours of work over the weekend, so don't say I never did anything for you LOL. Oh, and the Stoked review is being posted on Wednesday (technically today considering when I'm posting this). I've been a busy bee lately LOL.

In the original draft, I had one phrase at the end of the review, which was left on the cutting room floor. So, I would like to post the original ending to the review here: "Special thanks to Bond x360a for the co-op playtesting assistance, and making excellent crocodile bait." Bond spent about 10 hours on Friday through Sunday playing through the campaign with me, and even helped me run a couple chapters again when my crappy internet connection at home punted me. The help is appreciated... I would have hated to play through the whole thing with the Sheva AI. I sent a request for help to over 50 people on my friends list... he's the brave masochist who volunteered to endure me (well, Ducky Dan volunteered too, but I don't think he would enjoy RE5). Silly fool =) I kid, but seriously, thanks for the help.

It's too late at night for me to go full-blown editorial here, but I've been thinking lately about Strategy RPGs, which could quite possibly be my favorite genre, and their near-total non-existence on the Xbox 360. Operation Darkness wasn't great, based on my demo play, Zoids Assault was one of the worst games I've ever played, and Spectral Force 3 seemed decent but bland based on my limited playtime with it. That's all we've got here in the States, and the 360 has been out how long?

Since the PS3 has Disgaea 3 on it (curse you Nippon Ichi and sticking to Sony consoles!... and the Nintendo DS...), I can make the claim that the PS3 is already kicking the Xbox 360's ass in this genre, as I'm certain that one game is better than the three we have combined. Right now, I own a PSP just so I can play Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness anywhere, at any time. Seriously. Where are the SRPGs?

If this genre is simply too niche to sell well in the US, I would understand why few games are made. I'd cry myself to sleep, but I'd get it. To my knowledge, the Final Fantasy tactics games sell well every time, and while I'm sure the FF branding helps, the point is that SRPGs are selling. The fact that they may not be selling well on the 360 may simply be because the ones currently available for the system aren't that good. Developers should look at the success of Civilization Revolution, a turn-based strategy game that is probably the closest thing available to a good SRPG right now, as a sign of hope for the genre.

I would love to see a new Final Fantasy Tactics for the Xbox 360/PS3. Square Enix has been doing FF spin-offs for everything these days, so why not a quality product for consoles? I'm as baffled by the fact that there have been no new FF Tactics games for consoles as I am by the fact that Nintendo has never made a full-blown Pokemon RPG for consoles... but that's a different discussion... Why have SRPGs been the exclusive realm of handhelds lately? I want to see the Front Mission franchise return to the US, but seeing as Front Mission 4 sold poorly here (that's a tragedy, by the way), it'll probably never happen. What if Nippon Ichi decided to broaden their reach and actually release something on the 360? A man can dream, right?

What caused the decline in this genre? Do we as gamers lack the patience for them, and can only stomach a diet of six-hour shooters? As far as I can tell, there seems to be no hope on the horizon for 360 owners to be getting a quality SRPG any time soon. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

And thus conclude my late-night ramblings. Am I the only one really, really missing this genre?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Week IV Final Thoughts

I rode the bench this week, and with the score tracking still so messed up, I barely bothered to look at the thing. With review obligations and homework absorbing my time, Week IV feels like a "lost week" to me. I practically don't even know what happened, which is probably a bad thing, since I am the captain and all LOL. I'm afraid that instead of worrying about being too "hands-on" this week I may have been too "hands-off" in leadership. Live and learn, I guess.

DarkTharen kicked ass, with nearly 6k points scored, and Bishop's 3,700 or so points are also nothing to complain about, though I know he wishes he could have done better. Silva underperformed for the first time ever, so I hope next week on the bench helps him recharge a bit (this was a planned benching for him, and has nothing to do with his performance). Sabre is on the bench again, and will hopefully be boosting me through LOTR: Failquest (as I understand it's not that good).

This week is my spring break, so look for me to throw down some major points. Young Guns is right up in our faces again, and our deficit on Sinister Six has not significantly decreased in the last two weeks, and I'm not at all happy about either of those events. So, I'll be doing my own part to pur the hurt on, and edge ever closer to 100k.

This weekend was insanely busy, with Resident Evil 5 owning my life. Thank God the game is good. I spent about 12-13 hours Friday-Sunday playing it, and about 5-6 more hours Sun-Mon writing up the review, coding it, and adding pics. And it's a doozey of a review too. I hope people bother to read through it all, as there's a lot of good info in there. The review should be posted in the next day or two.

For tonight, I'm going to continue playing RE5, in a more laid-back fashion now. I'm playing through on easy to get all the BSAA emblems, gather what treasures I missed, and gather up money and exchange points for some of the other achievements. I must say, since guns carry over, and infinate ammo apparently does not disable achievements, Professional mode won't be as hard as I feared, since theoretically two people can roll through with superpowered weapons and no ammo concerns. It's definitely the easiest 1k Capcom has ever released, though I'm not sure if getting all "S" ranks for one unlockable is required for one of the achievements or not.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Look to the Weekend

Here's on tap for the next couple days, so you'll know I'm busy this weekend and not just being a lazy ass who doesn't update his blog as often as he says he will LOL =P

FRIDAY: I'm driving home from college to commence my Spring Break. Will be picking up RE5, and evaluating my local Blockbuster on their usefulness GSL week 5. I need to finish, edit, and code the Stoked review, and start playing Resident Evil 5.

SATURDAY: Complete RE5 if I haven't already. Finish Stoked review, if I have not already, then begin writing the RE5 draft. This will take most of the day.

SUNDAY: Make sure RE5 review is 100% complete and ready for posting upon Webb's return on the 16th. (I don't think I've had this high-profile a review since Gears 2. Looking forward to it!) Online boosting as necessary for Hand of Thrawn before the cutoff. Possible Halo 3 boosting session w/ jackanape (exact date TBD). General Operation Jedi work of non-GSL points.

MONDAY: A non-gaming day, for the most part. Will be working on some school work (which is soooo much fun on spring break), and possibly some resume writing and job searching. Plan on writing a blog special topic on Strategy RPGs, and their non-entity status on Xbox 360. The same will be the case for Tuesday and Wednesday. I need to get a lot of unexciting, but necessary, work done before I go absolutely point-crazy.

If I come up with some nice blog ideas, and need to take a break from review writing, I'll throw something up, but I make no promises. Good reviews take time... (I think I mentioned in a previous post that the average review takes me six hours to write, in addition to the time spent playing the game. Dead Space took about 8, and RE5 will probably be about that, if I end up tewaking it a lot)

Anyway, enough rambling. I'll see ya when I see ya.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thrawn of the Dead

I've realized this whole daily blogging thing during a GSL is freakishly hard, but I'm not playing this week, so it should have been easier. It should be a normal week with a few special topics and whatnot (there was supposed to be a special topic yesterday, in fact) but that has not happened on account of business and illness.

Business: I'm a little behind on my research (surprise, surprise), so I've been spending five-hour jags in the research lab coding data... doing that is not a good way to maintain sanity over a prolonged period of time, but it must be done.

I also spent the majority of last week working on my first short story for my creative writing class, and it's now finished. It's a horror story set in Japan, based on a Japanese urban legend. I was thinking of serial-posting it on this blog, but I'm pretty protective of my fiction and don't want to put it where anyone can "borrow" it. So, if you're interested in reading it, give me an email and I'll send it to you. This way, I have a rough idea of who has read it.

Illness: I've had a cold for a week now, and yesterday was a day to forget. Woke up with a persistent throbbing headache that lasted all day, and I couldn't focus on anything. Therefore, besides playing Stoked, I got nothing done at all, and now need to do double today. Fun times. I felt like a total zombie.

I felt a lot like this yesterday.


In speaking of feeling dead, Resident Evil 5 comes out on Friday, and I'm super excited for it. I'm going to need an online co-op partner for it, as I have to test out the co-op as part of the review process, and I'd rather not play with some random person. So far, my message to all friends has been fruitless, as my friends are either busy with a GSL, time zones wouldn't work well, they aren't getting the game, or they're just being lame. Whatever the cause, I'm still looking. Ducky Dan has offered to buy the game and play with me, but since he hated Dead Space, I'm probably going to tell him not to bother, as it seems improbable to me that he would like it. If he does get it, I'll work with him. That should be... interesting...

Want to co-op? I'll let you be Chris this time...

I'm going to get cranking on the Stoked draft today now that I'm feeling better, but it probably won't be on the site for a couple more days.

Week 4 is about to begin in the GSL, which I'm unfortunately sitting out due to my work load and review obligations (though I'd been hoping to be the one to review RE5 for months, I'll admit). Next week is my spring break, and since all my friends are going skiing (I hate skiing and refused to waste my money on something I would have no fun doing), I'll have nothing to do but play games, so it should be a double points week for me (I'll probably still be trying to get some work done as well though).

In my 360voice challenge, I've temporarily moved up to #3 thanks to 440 points in Stoked (which is not a GSL game, BTW, unless you're really, really good at games of this genre), but that won't last. Koala is playing, I'm not. It'll be interesting to see how badly the competition burns me this week, and if I can claw my way back into the top three during Week 5. I really want to finish top three and get some challenge points for my efforts. It's an added source of motivation beyond moving Hand of Thrawn up the team ladder. There's no such thing as too much motivation, is there?

Oh! Maw DLC #2 comes out today!!! You should go download it. Right now. That game is amazing. I think I'm going to go get is as soon as this has been posted.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Messages from the Holonet (Episode 2)

It's been a while, but I finally have accumulated enough interesting messages to merit a post. I figured I'd take a break from Stoked (my next review) to type up the post.

BL4CK SiLv4 writes (2/15/09):

ugh im sick as a dog i cant even sit up on the pc :( good thing the flu hit me this week. Derek: Dont forget to save you are almost lvl 7 :) and Thrawn:... DuckyDan thinks you're cute

(Silva on why he should sit out Week I... and more)
Response: I know Ducky wants me, but after I used the doll to show the nice policemen where he wanted to touch me, he's not allowed within 10 miles of me anymore LOL =P

Buck Wyyld writes (2/24/09)

f dat silva he still owes me a kiss

Response: Buck, if I remember the events of the Viva Pinata Party Animals boosting session correctly, Silva owes you more than a kiss.

Bionik Kommando writes (3/2/09)

Interrupting this gaming session to bring you the following announcement. Italians only eat pizza, pasta, and ice cream. Every stereotypical portrayal of the italian accent, ever, is 100% spot-on. I need to do homework now... Bye.

Response: LOL. That is all.

FinTacular writes (3/6/09)

!YAY! Personal Thrawn gamerpic ! Good for you.

Response: Thanks. I used my vision camera to snap a pic of Thrawn off my PC. If you're on my friends list, you can see this gamerpic. I've had the vision camera for ages... I can't believe the idea didn't come to me sooner.

BL4CK SiLv4 writes (3/7/09)

Madden 08 is for noobs real men play afro samurai

Response: I'll tell you all about what real men play when I see My Horse and Me 2 shows up on your gamercard. Enjoy one last week of decency before people can mok you forever LOL

BL4CK SilVa writes (3/8/09)

100k sigh i miss when I was a casual gamer back in the 34k range in June of 08 then you f***ers got your dirty little hands on me it's a shame...my nerd cred is thru the roof now!

Response: I seem to remember you jumping into the fray pretty eagerly. Don't blame us. We didn't make you sign up. It clearly said in the fine print that The Silent Assassins were a cult that you could never leave after joining. Not my fault you can't read. Who doesn't love internet nerd cred?

BL4CK Silva writes (3/9/09)

Podcast = hilarious. Do you think any of the other teams are having as much fun with each other as we are?

Response: I too listened to Minty and Krazie's 5+ minute bitch-fest about the GSL. I hope it was therapeutic (and I'm sure they needed/deserved a rant), but it was a little much. I'm sure a few of the laid back teams not even trying are having a good time. Are any other of the teams in the top six having as much fun as we are? Possibly, but I doubt it. KOTOR isn't, knowing how they opperate. I can't say for the other teams.

As you can see, many of my best messages come from Silva LOL. That'll cover me for today. Gotta get back to playing Stoked.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week III Final Thoughts

Things went decently, though not spectacularly, this week. I was too stupid to write down people's start scores, which is something I'll remember to do in the future. It looks like, with about 4,500 points, I was the team's top scorer this week, followed by Silva, then Derek, then Sabre. I think this is the second week in a row we've fallen short of our team goal... I'm not sure. As I said before, I messed up the numbers this week. Perhaps the goals I'm holding us to are too ambitious (I want to set high goals, but not be a slave driver), but I can say at least I nearly met my 5k goal despite losing nearly 2 full days of playing time.

Young Guns have pulled to within about 3k of us, so we'll have to watch out for them next week. In happier news, we picked up about 3.5k on Sinister Six, the next team above us, and Silva cracked 100k on the nose. Way to go Silva! Next week WILL be better, as Dark makes his much-awaited return to action after 2 weeks off, and is going to kick ass, and Bishop will be back in action. Sabre's going to be taking his first sit of the season, while I'm sitting again so I can work on the reviews for Stoked and Resident Evil 5, as well as get cranking on my research and homework, so Week V (my spring break), I can go absolutely point CRAZY. We're going to be toe-to-toe with Sinister Six for 4th place by the end of Week V, if things go to plan.

My week of crazy scoring moved me to #3 in the 360v challenge, though I'll fall to 4th by tomorrow. Still a lot of time left, but I can tell it will be quite tough to crack the top three. I'll do my best to make it happen. It was a pretty fun week, and week IV will be even better.

Completed games this week:
Sonic's UGC
Rapala's Fishing Frenzy 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Baby Nerf Me One More Time

This week has been one with a decent start, but many frustrations. I came out to a huge start by dropping 425 in Sonic's UGC, and 530 in Xmen, then maybe 200 more in Lego Star Wars II. With over 500 points in NCAA Football 08, things seem to be going amazingly thus far, and I jumped from 57th to 4th in my 360voice challenge, so why would I be frustrated? Because this week was supposed to be HUGE.

What has gone wrong?

1. Gamefly never received Scene It: Box Office Smash. After a week, I reported it missing. They're now sending my LOTR: Conquest, but I won't get that this week. So, a shipping error nerfed me a possible 1k.

2. My disc of Madden 08 will not play, no matter what I do. I can't get out to Gamestop to exchange it this week. Nerfed another 1k.

If only we were talking about this kind of nerf.

3. In NCAA 07, there is no sim function, and apparently if you do too many achievement goals in one game, nothing pops. I played a game for like 90 minutes and got no points for it. It'll take much longer to get points from this than expected.

4. I got a call from a high school buddy yesturday, who wanted to know if he could crash at my place Friday. He has grad school interviews in Stout on Friday, and here in Eau Claire on Saturday, so he wanted to stay here rather than drive back and forth from Minnesota twice. Since I'm such a good friend, I'm helping him out, which means I'm losing almost all of Friday for scoring. It'll be good to see him, and we might go see Watchman, so I'm not complaining about seeing him, but it would have been nice to know sooner, so I could plan for it.

5. I'll be out all day Saturday on a snow-tubing trip that has been in the works for over a month. Wasn't supposed to be a big deal if all my games worked and I had Friday to game. Now I'm looking at a late night Thursday and Late Saturday/Early Sunday.

So, I'll still do OK this week, but my expectations have been lowered quite a bit. I'll have to try to do better next week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Awaiting Week III

Tuesday was a slower day of gaming, as I really didn't want to go all-out when that's exactly what I'm going to be doing Wednesday through Sunday. I pretty much got done what I wanted to in Xmen and called it quits.

I'm rather irritated with Gamefly (or maybe the USPS) right now, as I've been screwed over this week. I mailed them back Scene It: BOS over a week ago, and they still have not received it yet. I reported it lost yesterday, hoping that will get the ball rolling on me getting a new game, but nothing has been sent yet, so I'm probably stuck on a single gamefly game this week. Lame! Despite this annoying setback, my weekly goal remains the same, though I'm really going to miss that extra possible 1k.

I'm also in a challenge on 360v, so that the points I earn count there too. You can follow the action of that HERE. I'm hoping to finish in the top three and thus rake in a nice haul of points (there's 70+ people in it). It'll be a tough competition though, as the current top two both started with scores under 10k, and they have people hooking them up with tons of easy games. There's also the fact that I can only put down points Wed-Sun for the GSL. So, it's an uphill fight, but I know how to score points. I can't wait for the gloves to come off again, so I can show them how its done.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dolce is One Mean Cookie

Recently, I've been working at two gaming objectives. The first is to make my way through my second playthrough of Eternal Sonata, the second to make progress of any kind in the turd known as Xmen. Seriously, how can any game make Wolverine suck? He does in this one... Seriously, he goes down faster than my old high school football team. And how bad was my high school football team, you ask? Well, surely some stats from my senior year's team will help that joke make sense:

Shakopee Football at its finest:

Win %






In Eternal Sonata, I was making pretty smooth progress, until I hit Dolce's pirate ship in chapter 4. That place sucks! First, I'm stuck with my total B-team (Salsa is the only character in the party at this point that I use when I have the choice) and everyone else stinks. No Viola. No Allegretto. Absolutely no Jazz... and somehow I'm supposed to take out Dolce, who is truly one mean cookie. When I reached her the first time, she wiped me out so fast I don't know what happened. After grinding out a few levels and selling a ton of photos to finance the obscene healing item bills this place is giving me, I tried her again. While the fight was more competitive, she still kicked my ass. She's super fast, and likes to attack from behind where I can't guard. I've ended up blowing my wad of healing items waaaay too soon in the fight, and thus lack the stamina to finish (yes, those metaphors may have been inappropriate... moving on...). I can hardly even build up my harmony chain with these losers (not you Salsa... I still love you). So, I'm probably going to be stuck in Dolce's ship for another couple hours grinding levels, so I can take her down. It's a horrible place to have to grind, since there is only one type of enemy, and the dungeon design is so bland. I'll just have to suffer through this bottleneck I find myself in so I can get back to enjoying the rest of the game.

Viola, Jazz... I miss you!!!

Xmen... what can I say about you? You have no checkpoints, so if I die I have to start the whole mission over! I love that! Thanks for making Wolverine a total wuss, and making the combat system for Nightcrawler that Jumper would totally try to rip off later. Thank you for back-loading all your points, and requiring me to track down asinine collectables. Thank you for not straining my eyes with your PS2 graphics. Thanks for your bottom budget "cinematics," and taking everything cool about Xmen and making it lame. I love you so much right now. I'd take you off my card, but I've done that once before already. Now I have 20 points in you, which makes us buddies for LIFE.

(Sigh) LAME...

So yeah... it was a dicey day of gaming. Hopefully tomorrow (and GSL Week III) will be much better.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Week II Final Thoughts

Well, Week II of the GSL has come to an end, and it certainly was an interesting week. When things started, Young Guns, Woodcock Johnsons, and Hand of Thrawn were within 1k of each other. WJs exploded to +17k on us, YG imploded (this week, at least) to 3-7k behind us (not sure what their official score really is) and we own 6th place for now. The new goal is to climb into the top five, which is certainly a challenge, but we're down for it. L4A has announced that their team goal is to catch up to us... I do love motivational rivalries. I encourage them to do their best... my team thrives on people gunning for us. Week I it was Ducky's Angels and Rogue Squadron (crushed em), Week II it was L4A (they gained a little ground), Week III it will be L4A and YG (results obviously TBD). Come and get some =P

A couple of my teammates did excellent work, a couple underperformed a little... it comes with the territory (I think they all know how they did). Next week, I'm hoping for as much or more from everyone, as I think we failed to meet our goal for the week (except you Silva... you don't need to kill yourself... it's called SLEEP =P get just a tiny bit of it LOL. If we had 1,000 points for every time you sent we a message saying you were about to die, we'd be beating KOTOR {I exaggerate a little}). I'm not excepting myself from this; I too will strive to do better than my Week I score. Look for Silva to pass the 100k milestone next week. There's still six weeks of action left, so I'm sure there will be plenty of movement. I know my team well enough now to guarantee we'll remain consistent throughout.

After playing Week I, sitting out a week was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. I spent the time doing some preloading, boosting teammates in Prey and Timeshift, and playing games for fun, like continuing my second playthrough of Eternal Sonata, where I've progressed to chapter 4. Sitting back and watching the point whoring squad you've assembled do their thing certainly has its own satisfactions.

Thinking long-term, I think this will be my last GSL for a while. Don't get me wrong, I love these, and my team now is every bit as fun as TSA was (Despite the lack of Ducky's singing or totally non-PC gay jokes with Buck... we still have to break in the new guys to our randomness a little =P). My temporary retirement from GSLs will coincide from my temporary retirement from achievement whoring. Once I hit 100k, my focus is going to shift drastically from whoring points to scoring points in games I enjoy, and improving my completion percentage. My year-end goal may be 100k, but even if I reach it before May or June, I'm not setting a new goal. Operation Jedi and completing RPGs will keep me busy enough. As I look for jobs and try to establish myself post-college, I also won't have the time (or $$$) for it for a while. Assuming x360a continues GSLs, I'll probably sit out season 8, and actively avoid playing anything that smells like easy points, so that I'll have a lot of ammunition when season 9 rolls around, at which point I'd like to reform TSA or Hand of Thrawn and make a serious run for it... but that's a ways down the line.

On a separate note, while I cannot 100% confirm this yet, it looks like my next two reviews will be Stoked and Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard. One of those I'm actually looking forward to. The other I have no idea what to expect. I'll let you figure out which is which.