Thursday, December 31, 2009

Towards 10 More Years of Epic

It's the end of a decade, and what an interesting one it has been. For me personally, this has been the decade of education, as I spent 4 years in high school and 4 in college. 2010 will be the beginning of my first decade in the "real world." It's been a great decade for entertainment, with dozens classic games released, and noteworthy movies released. Hell, just the release of District 9 and Avatar makes 2009 the best year for sci-fi movies this decade, I'd wager.

Tonight I'm not going to bore you with a long introspective post about my life, or recount ten years of facts about the gaming industry you already know. Instead, I'm thinking to the future, and what the next 10 years will bring. What will happen between my 23rd (2009) and 33rd birthdays (9/12/2019)?

This isn't an episode of ThrawnOmega Predicts the Future, and I'm not concerned about the gaming industry. We'll continue to have our faces melted by at least 4-5 incredible titles every year, and plenty of other great games. But what can I expect to be doing during this time?

1. For as long as x360a continues to exist, I will be writing reviews for them. I'm going to assume that the admin Scooby Gang is going to update the site to stay relevant with the release of the next xbox (since we already know the achievements system will continue on), so barring some obscenely unlikely site buyout or total admin fallout (both of which could happen in theory but most likely won't) I will continue to work for the site. I've proven writing abilities, and demonstrated a good work ethic and willingness to help others as much as I can, so I don't anticipate being "fired" unless I became a total douchbag... and I don't see that happening either.

2. I will be getting FAR more serious about my writing. Everything you've seen from me, whether it be this blog or my reviews (or the rare few who have read my research or scholarly essays), is all "side projects" to me. Creative writing is my bread and butter, and 2009 was actually an incredibly slow year for me in that regard. I only wrote two short stories, both for a college class, and haven't gone back yet to retool them to publishable quality or try to send them out. Both stories have a hell of a lot of potential, so I will be revisiting them. One was a horror story based on Japanese Urban legends, with an emotional/psychological bent to it and themes of alienation. The other was a sci-fi satire of the modern obession with having "do-it-all" devices like the iphone.

Besides retooling those stories, my major new years resolution is to write a minimum of 3 pages a day, or spend at least two hours writing, on each of my off days. (It's simply not a good idea to try to write quality after a 12 hour work day... take this post as an example LOL). In 2010 I will finish the world building I'm doing for my sci-fi universe, and start my novel idea with the goal of getting significantly close to completion by years end. How can I ever achieve my dream of being a published novelist if I never put in the work to write, right? Since I'm unpublished and under no contractual obligation to hurry, I may work on two projects at once, since I have another novel idea that's pretty compelling to me too.

As I go, this blog will likely become a space for more discussion of writing, and posting excerpts of my projects, as I go. This may not interest everyone, or have anything to do with gaming, but hey, the gaming content will still be there, and I'm going to do what makes me happy. (And what I think will keep this blog an interesting and diverse place).

3. Who knows where I'll be in 10 years? Hopefully I'll be married. Maybe I'll have a kid or two. Maybe my gamerscore will be over 400,000 by 2019. The thing I'm most certain of, beyond anything else I've said here, is this blog will still be around. The frequency of posts may change. The nature of the beast may change, but I'll still be here. Blogging is way too damn fun to stop.

One this New Years Eve, I hope you're all having fun with friends or family (I'm actually relaxing alone since I worked 12 hours and will do so again tomorrow, but that's beside the point). I wish you all the best. Lets raise our glasses, celebrate all that is good in life, and look forward to 10 more years of EPIC.

See you next decade!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Entertainment Overload

It happens every year after Christmas. Whether it be from presents or overspending on oneself, there's always too many fun things to do, and you want to do them all RIGHT NOW. I find myself in this predicament. Having overspent the last two months, I'm now sitting on:

2 Seasons of Stargate Atlantis
Dragon Age Origins
MagnaCarta 2
Secret of Monkey Island
District 9 on Bluray
300 on Bluray
Stargate Continuum DVD
Currently reading Stephen King's "Under the Dome"
Last Remnant
Need for Speed Undercover

It's going to take a long time to digest all of that. To that end, I'm cutting entertainment spending to as close to absolute zero as I can while still not cutting back my social life for the next THREE MONTHS, minimum. Why buy more stuff when I'm still working through this new stuff, and all the older stuff I haven't finished yet? I'll be picking up Mass Effect 2, but literally EVERYTHING else is getting relegated to Gamefly (1 game plan) or Family Video rentals for my off days, or getting put on hold.

While in this spending freeze on items that are nice to have but I don't really NEED, my #1 priority for gaming will be to make aggressive progress on my Hit List for 2010. I posted it before, but here's my revised list for completions that will fall next year:

1. Sacred 2: Fallen Angel.
2. Eternal Sonata.
3. Lost Odyssey.
4. Blue Dragon.
5. Infinite Undiscovery.
6. Last Remnant.
7. Red Alert 3
8. Halo Wars
10. Mass Effect 2
11. Dragon Age Origins
12. Ninety Nine Nights
13. Magna Carta 2
14. EDF 2017
15. Gears of War 2

The list of 12 has balooned to 15, with MagnaCarta added since I own it, and Gears 2 added for the LOL factor. Anyone offering prizes if I actually run 15 for 15 on this list? That's a really hard list! So, I'm breaking it down into tiers:

Bronze: 5 completions from this list.
Silver: 9 completions
Gold: 12 Completions
Platinum: 15 for 15

If I should work my way into the Gold or Platinum levels, I'll be doing something significant to reward myself for the patience and dedication. I may special order a real-life trophy. Yes, that's dorky as hell. No, I don't care.

WIth the help of the Hand of Thrawn Boosting Alliance, I'll still see some regular Gamerscore progression next year, so my GS won't come to a complete standstill. I'll also be working on polishing up some easier games while I bounce around between this list.

I'm adding a new text box on the right of this blog to chronicle my progress on this quest.

Now, time to hang up blogging for the night and play some more Dragon Age! I'm NOT using the saving trick on this game, opting to truly enjoy the experience and get the most from the game over taking the fastest route to completion, so my time to completion for Dragon Age could be over 100 hours... we'll see.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry X-Mas, Thrawn Style

Merry Christmas everyone! It's been wonderful to have some time off from work and spend time with family, many of whom I haven't seen in months. Tonight is Christmas with my Dad's side of the family, which promises to be loud and hilarious.

I didn't get much gaming related for christmas, but I hadn't asked for much anyway. I'm not going to bore you with everything I gave/received, but I'll say it was a very good x-mas. One notable gift I received I've known was coming for a while, but didn't know it would be done so soon. Since it has to be seen to be fully appreciated, I'll have pictures of it up in the next few days. For now, I'll leave you in suspense on what the Mystery Gift was.

Today is mostly about relaxing and having fun, but I'd hate to leave you empty handed here at ThrawnOmega's Blog on the Gaming Life. Since my video camera is AWOL and I can't do a video blog today, I'll leave you with some quality Christmas songs to mark the Holidays... and not the ones you've heard 100,000 times.

Watch them all... they're hilarious LOL.


and finally... a hilarious Robot Chicken clip courtesy of Seth Green.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Blog!

+10,000 Awesome points to Bionik Kommando for noticing BEFORE I even had the magic birthday post up.

Yes, today marks the first anniversary of the most prolific achievement blog on the internet (I think... the internet is a big place). It's been a fantastic year, with 193 total posts, giving me an average of one post every two days. Now that's consistency! It's been fun commenting on achievements, gaming, and other randomness, all of which have earned me a small (but very consistent and faithful) readership of about 60 people a day. All that has generated over 12,000 hits for the year. Thank you all!

I've had a blast writing special topics when I have time, and will certainly do more of them in the coming year, as well as more episodes of ThrawnOmega predicts the future. Every established blog feature will continue, and I'm toying the idea of having some more guest posts. Remember that short-lived gem that was the "Ask Silva" column? Maybe I can get Silva back for a monthly or bi-monthly episode. There's a few other people I'm planning on getting in contact with for features.

What would you like to see in the coming year? I'm always open to suggestions.

Year 2 will see the escapades of the Hand of Thrawn Boosting Alliance, more Video Blogs, and more. With a minimum of 150 posts coming (this is #1), you can look forward to at least 10 quality posts =P

Thanks again for making this so much fun. To show my appreciation, I'm going to have another video blog up around Christmas time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

ThrawnOmega Predicts the Future: Avatar Edition

My crystal ball has sat dormant for too long. In fact, I haven't offered any future predictions since June, over six months ago! So, I figured after having my face melted by the epicness of Avatar (see yesterday's post), I thought I'd look at how this revolutionary movie is going to ultimately change hollywood.

First though, I'd like to say one of my future predictions has come to pass, sooner than I had anticipated. Back in June, I predicted:

12. Say goodbye to the file-size limit for XBLA games. There won't be one.

That was in reference to XBLA for the next Xbox. Turns out since I made that prediction Microsoft killed the size limit for the 360. So. while not a direct correlation, this almost 100% guarantees this prediction will pan out. Why would they backpedal on a good decision for their next system? I'm going to chalk this down as my 2nd correct prediction. The first being:

FFXIII will not be exclusive to the PS3.

I had that one nailed down a year before the official announcement.

ThrawnOmega Predicts the Future: Episode IV: Avatar Edition

Avatar is the most expensive movie ever made, with a cost of over $300 million to make and another $200 million in distribution, marketing, etc. costs. No worries though, Avatar will make it all back and more, helped in part by a higher than average number of people who see the movie multiple times. Put me down for a total box office take of $730 million worldwide before leaving theaters.

3D is the way of the future. Within the next 10 years, we're going to see a huge surge in the number of 3D movies, as Avatar's proprietary camera technology becomes more commonplace. Come 2019, most, if not all, major hollywood releases will be in full 3D.

Both George Lucas and Stephen Speilberg were shown the technology during the production of Avatar. Lucas is impossible to predict, but I promise you Speilberg will use the technology... probably sooner rather than later. Look for a Speilberg 3D movie using Avatar tech within the next 3 years. Jurassic Park 4, if it ever gets made, will be in 3D.

Avatar is actually 40% Live action, 60% photorealistic CGI. By 2015, Avatar Tech (including the new motion capture technologies) will be used to produce a 100% CGI movie, but it will look so damn good you wouldn't believe it.

Avatar wins every award know to man for visual effects. No contest. Don't even bother nominating anyone else. It may also win best musical score, Cameron has a shot at director (will be nominated at minimum for Oscar), and Zoe Salanda will be considered for her role as Neytiri. I'd like to see Avatar in the run for best picture, but it wouldn't win it.

Cameron is on record as saying if Avatar is successful, he'd like to do two sequels. My prayer to whatever celestial entity oversees the universe is that Avatar will indeed become a trilogy. The world of Pandora is far too captivating to be limited to one movie. Fictional or not, the Na'vi culture fascinates me, and I'd like to see more of it. (I do have a Sociology degree, so a lot of interesting cultures appeal to me). All good things come to those who wait... and wait we must, because Avatar 2 won't be out until winter 2013 or summer 2014.

Like Star Wars, the Avatar universe will expand beyond the movie. Besides the obvious toy lines and already released tie-in game, a novel line or comic line would not surprise me in the least. Look around... Game franchises Starcraft, Warcraft, Gears, Halo, Mass Effect, Rwsident Evil... they all have related novels. In movies, Aliens and Predator have some, as does Terminator, and there are more. Tie in novels have come out for TV shows Stargate SG-1, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek (which like Star Wars has spawned a huge novel line). Avatar will get the novel treatment, and you bet I'll read 'em.

Earlier this year, I thought to myself, "District 9 is the movie I'm buying a Bluray player for." Well, now I'm thinking... "Avatar is the movie to make me buy the biggest LED TV I can possibly afford in order to watch it in full splendor." I'm already saving.

Time to put the crystal ball away for a month (or six...) have a great night everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avatar Melted My Face

What an incredible day Friday was. I drove over to a friend's house on Thursday night to hang out and spend the night. Besides gaming a little, we watched an episode of the laughably cheesy show Legend of the Seeker, and Christmas episodes of SOuth Park.

Since they both had to work during the day Friday, I was left to chill and enjoy their 55'' TV with surround sound (way better than my own setup) for the day, and made the most of it, completing Modern Warfare 2 on Veteran. I'm now up to 950 in that game, with only collectables and a few other things to go back for for the full 1k.

When my friends came back, we had a Rock Band party for a couple hours. As much as I enjoy that game, it was exponentially better when playing with friends.

Of course, the highlight of the day was seeing Avatar in 3D at the Minnesota Zoo's IMAX theater. Oh my god that film is epic. In 3D, it's a true sight to behold, and the special effects are by far and away the best ever seen in film. While the story isn't really innovative, it tugs at the heartstrings nonetheless (or maybe I'm just a sucker for these types of stories). While I can review games pretty well, I just don't know how to review movies, other than to say that Avatar is 160 minutes of EPIC, and so well paced that it doesn't feel like a long movie. I didn't want it to end. I've had the movie on my mind nonstop since it ended last night.

For people who know anything about me, I'll say this: No movie has inspired my imagination this much since I first watched Star Wars when I was a kid. In fact, the awe factor here puts Star Wars to shame. I don't think I can bestow higher praise upon a movie.

While paying $16 for a movie ticket was pretty spendy, I'm almost foaming at the mouth to get a group together to go see this in IMAX 3D again. Yes, I'd pay $16 again and not think twice about it. If that falls through, I can always go to a regular movie theater an watch it. I assure you I'll be watching it again before it leaves theaters, and a third viewing in a couple weeks isn't out of the question. Bluray purchase on release day is a given. What an awesome, awesome movie.

Of course, the movie didn't start until 8:45pm, so I didn't get back to my friends place until midnight. Then, the drive from St. Paul to Hutchinson took me until 1:40am, so I wasn't asleep until 2am, meaning I got just 5 hours of sleep before having to go to work. Somehow those were the worst 5 hours of sleep I've had in a long time, with a constant strobing in and out of sleep... That made for one incredibly long 12-hour shift today... And I had Avatar on my mind the whole damn time.

EDIT: In other news, my review for Rogue Warrior has been released at last. It's linked on the right side of this blog. Now you can read in more detail just how horrible that game is.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thrawn vs. Bionik Kommando

So, first of all, I thought I'd announce that the 8-man roster for our boosting group is now filled. Officially, it's:

1. ThrawnOmega
2. BL4CK SiLv4
3. Derek1337
4. Bishop024
5. DarkTharen
6. Sabre x360a
7. Xylofreak03
8. Blind Ragee

Not a surprising roster, I know. It's essentially 100% of last season's Hand of Thrawn (an utterly awesome 6-person set already) plus Blind and Xylo. I'm looking forward to the boosting come January. With the right people, boosting can be a hell of a lot of fun, and I can guarantee you these party chats will be happening. Wolfenstein is the game for January. Let's rock it!

Announcement #2. I'm going to the IMAX theater at the Minnesota Zoo tomorrow night to see Avatar. I'm going with a couple friends, and I'm planning on having my face melted. Hope that movie is as epic as the trailers make it seem.

Now, for the title's topic... On a whim (which is how a lot of things happen in my world) I decided to compare my tag against my bro, Bionik Kommando, to see who is better at completing games. I'm not using a global completion percentage here, simple a tit-for-tat comparison of game's we've both played on who has more points.

an * denoted the winner of each matchup.

755* --- Modern Warefare 2 --- 690
625* --- Sacred 2 --- 505
820* --- Unreal Tournament III --- 750
1750* --- Halo 3 --- 1740
975 --- Rainbow Six Vegas 2 --- 1000*
200* --- 1 vs. 100 --- 145
1000* --- Halo 3 ODST --- 935
1125* --- Borderlands --- 1045
1035* --- Left 4 Dead --- 885
1365 --- Gears 2 --- 1535*
1000* --- Call of Duty 4 --- 650
290 --- Perfect Dark Zero --- 480*
100 --- Magic: The Gathering --- 170*
1060* --- Resident Evil 5 --- 1025
900* --- Armored Core 4 --- 50
300 --- EDF 2017 --- 500*
40 --- Banjo-Tooie --- 115*
915* --- Banjo-Kazooie: N & B --- 760
1000 --- Fallout 3 --- 1550*
20 --- Undertow --- 65*
140* --- Assault Heroes --- 90
1010* --- Crackdown --- 470
525* --- Army of Two --- 440
290* --- Dead or Alive 4 --- 10
800* --- Rainbow SIx Vegas --- 650
210 --- Marvel Ultimate Alliance --- 935*
265 --- Timeshift --- 1200*
185 --- The Force Unleashed --- 925*
90 --- Puzzle Quest --- 250*
210 --- Dead Space --- 1000*
1160* --- Gears of War --- 990
885 --- Mass Effect --- 1200*
650* --- The Orange Box --- 515
960 --- Bioshock --- 1000*
110 --- Guitar Hero 2 --- 560*
145 --- Uno --- 200*
460 --- Assassin's Creed --- 485*
65 --- Doom --- 115*
370* --- The Darkness --- 105
430* --- Shadowrun --- 340
20 --- Lost Planet --- 135*
550 --- Call of Duty 3 --- 570*
70 --- COndemned --- 970*
250 --- Rayman Raving Rabbids --- 550*
460 --- Viva Pinata --- 740*
80 --- Dead Rising --- 100*
750 --- Prey --- 1000*

Overall record:

ThrawnOmega: 26 wins, 21 losses
Bionik Kommando: 21 wins, 26 losses

Total Score:

ThrawnOmega: 30,140
Bionik Kommando: 26,415

Difference: Thrawn by 3725

What does all this mean? Not much really. We both have a few games on our tag that we borrowed from the other and didn't get very far in, and both have games where one is clearly farther than the other (he has Crackdown, I have Fallout 3). I just thought it'd be interesting to see how we compare.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Honor Roll

As I ease into my recent fixation for getting more completions from the tough or long games, I thought I'd take a look at what's already on my card for motivation, as a reminder that I do have the dedication to take down those games when I want to. While the list isn't nearly as long as I'd like it to be, I have some satisfying accomplishments.

Condemned 2: 25+ hours, very limited boosting. I had a blast with this game, though it took several playthroughs to pick up everything. I'm proud of it.

Dead Space: 24+ hours. There's a few challenging achievements in there, but hacking off limbs is sweetness. Can't wait for the sequel next year.

Warriors Orochi 2: 80-100 hours, most of which was spent in an insufferable grind. That grind was extensively documented in this blog. It's not a 1k for the faint of heart, which is why very few people have it.

Oblivion: 130 hours for 1250/1250. Not a tough game, but a very huge one. It was also my first regular 1000, and largely responsible for getting me into gamerscore in the first place.

Virtua FIghter 5 (985/1000): Okay, so that's not a completion, but very few people have the dedication to get as far as I did in that game. I love VF5 to death, and happily logged long hours playing it. Every time I play, I have fond memories of Japan come back. I played the game quite a bit in the arcades there prior to its US release.

Puzzle Quest (250): Over 50 hours logged for that arcade completion, and I loved every minute of it. The final boss was a real bastard, but fun to finally take out.

Fallout 3: Approx. 65 hours logged for my 1550 here.

Mass Effect (1200): Probably 50-60 hours across five playthroughs of the game. Can't wait for the sequel!

Rainbow Six Vegas 2: Over 40 hours invested for the 1k. I'm a legit elite, and only boosted the Attack and Defend achievements. I still consider the Rainbow Six games my favorite to play in coop.

Considering how many games I've played, the list of ones I truly take pride in is rather short. Here's to hoping I can double it in the next year =P

Monday, December 14, 2009

Boosting Group Update

There's been a good amount of interest in joining the boosting group, so I thought I'd give everyone an update. Here's my 100% confirmed roster at this point:

1. ThrawnOmega
2. Bishop024
3. Sabre x360a
4. DarkTharen

I will be getting in contact with a few more people over the next week (give me a little time... it's a crazy busy work week) to access the possibility of joining the group. I want to be careful to add enough we can easily boost but not so many that organizing sessions becomes a logistical nightmare. To that end, I have a strong preference for people located in North or South America, due to little time zone differentials. No offense to my overseas friends, but a 6+ hour time difference really limits everyone's options.

So, while I'm here, let me try to flesh out more specifically how I'd like to see this work. A social group on x360a will be our primary means of communication, because of the ease of access and that everyone can see it. The first game we play will be decided by group concensus. After that, selection would be made on a rotating basis, from the person with the highest gamerscore to the person with the lowest gamerscore, as of JANUARY 1, 2010. At that time, I'll lock in the rotation so if one person should pass another, the rotation isn't messed up.

What game we play from month to month is open for discussion, but the person whose turn it is gets the final say, and may choose a game others have already completed, if they so choose. Games will be selected at least one month in advance to give everyone time to secure their copy and to plan sessions. That may not be the case this first month or two, but for example, a game to be boosted in April should be selected during the first week of March.

I'd prefer not to boost a game the month it comes out, for example, selecting a game that releases in February to be boosted that month. My reasoning for this is that the newest games can be the toughest to locate if Gamefly-ing or regular renting, and I dont want to push anyone into buying a game they may not want to. So, I would suggest that we only boost games in their release month if there's group concensus we want to do it.

As we rotate who picks the game, we'll also rotate who is in charge of running the boosting sessions. Basically, if you picked the game, it's your job to do any necessary research on how to best boost and give directions during our sessions.

I hope this doesn't sound rule-heavy, but I figue some structure will make life easier for us all. Considering who is currently in the group, I don't anticipate any problems. We've all gamed together. We know each other. It'll be easy as cake.

So, what do we pick for our inaugural game? My first nomination would be Wolfenstein, since I own it and I know Bishop has it coming from Gamefly, so 1/2 of our current roster would already be ready for it.

You guys ready for a great 2010?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rogue Warrior, New & Sealed, $30

Want to buy a new and sealed copy of Rogue Warrior from a trustworthy source for HALF its current retail price? My promo copy of the game arrived in the mail today, and I'm selling it. I rented the game using my own cash to jump start the review process while I waited for the review copy to arrive, and it turns out my turnaround time was better that the USPS's in this instance (the disc getting returned to sender the first time didn't help them any). Now, I finished the review, and have the full 1k, so I no longer have any use for the game, and am therefore selling it.

I love those rare instances where I can make a little money (indirectly) for my reviews. Let me make it clear I never have nor will I ask to be paid for my work for the site, and I've put down cash out of my own pockets multiple times to help out with reviews... and promo copy reviews make up less than 1/3 of my total reviews. After all, I purchased Gears, Fallout, RE5, Onechanbara, most of the Fallout DLC, rented Jurassic, and more. So, I don't feel bad at all about selling an unopened promo copy to pay my electric bill this month. It's all cosmic balance.

So, if anyone is interested in a new, NTSC Rogue Warrior for $30, let me know and we can work out the details. I accept paypal.

Hit List 2010

Since I've already shifted into my 2010 playing mode of going for tougher/longer completions to make my gamertag more respectable, I thought I should work up the hit list of my prime targets. If I make good headway at finishing many of these off, more will be added. I'm looking to make some significant progress with RPGs, and make a showing for myself in strategy games. I'm no Creech, I have no ambition of tackling all that genre has to offer, but I do want to do better in the real heavy hitters. So, here's the current list:

1. Sacred 2: Fallen Angel. Not too hard, but it will take over 150 hours to complete.
2. Eternal Sonata. I'm still stonewalled in my 2nd playthrough.
3. Lost Odyssey. Going through the list to find the two seeds I missed will be the worst part of finishing this one off.
4. Blue Dragon. I dread the button mashers, and the possibility of missing one item or monster, so I'm being very, very careful here.
5. Infinite Undiscovery. Another 150+ hour project, and one that takes some skill.
6. Last Remnant. Have not started yet.
7. Red Alert 3: Most reasonable strategy game to complete.
8. Halo Wars
9. FFXIII: We don't know the achievements yet, but I'm sure completing it will be hard.
10. Mass Effect 2
11. Dragon Age Origins
12. Ninety Nine Nights

There's an even 12... a lofty goal of one tough/long game per month. (with the rest of this month as a slight head start)

While working on those heavy-hitters, I'll be bouncing around completing other games I haven't finished, enjoying the occational new title, and hopefully boosting with the dedicated group I'm forming (see yesterday's post). If I manage to get through the majority of this list, I've got some bonus objectives:

1. Magna Carta 2
2. Tales of Vesperia
3. Dynasty Warriors 6
4. EDF 2017

It'll be a challenging year, and I'm looking forward to it after so many easy games. You'll see this list come up again as I chronicle my progress.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I need a dedicated boosting group...

All the super elite achievement whores have one. You know, that same little group of people they always hang out and boost games with. I want something like that, but not nearly as hardcore. I've never cared about being near the top in the world leaderboards (though a couple genre boards would be sweet), nor does it matter to me to rattle out completions for a game the week it comes out.

What I'd like to do is get a group of people together who would agree to plan for and take down one game a month, two if we're in agreement on it. This group would be 4-8 members strong. We would each take turns selecting the next month's game on a rotating basis, so everyone gets to choose a game they want to boost, and everyone knows what the current and next month's games will be. This would give everyone time to buy the game or rent it, with plenty of time to schedule boosting sessions around people's schedules.

This structure would allow us to knock out some of the crap that requires boosting while still having a lot of time to pursue our separate gaming interests. With the right people, I actually enjoy a good boost every now and then.

Of course, I already have enough reliable friends to set this up, if they're willing to go for it and work around this structure. So, how about it, current and former GSL teammates? Other established achievement hunters I know? Interested?

Group activity would begin in January. I'm thinking the first game will be decided by open discussion/vote. After that, we'll rotate around in order from highest GS to lowest GS for picking games. Everyone remains free to make requests/suggestions, but the person whose turn it is would get the final say.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Red Alert 3 Anyone?

I'm waving the white flag on the GSL. We're 20k back from first place. Essentially, we've got 4th place wrapped up and there's little hope of changing that. Frankly, I'm realizing I work too hard to spend my days off playing crappy games and not having fun with them. While I'll still play junk from time to time to boost my score, I think my GSL days are over. I can do some challenges, but 8 sustained weeks is more than I'm into.

So, since I'm tapping out on agressive scoring, I'm shifting into my 2010 play style of chasing completions, upping my overall completion percentage, and playing more of the games I own. To that end, I'm looking for a good coop partner for Red Alert 3, which I picked up new for $10 but haven't played yet (though I'm cracking it open tonight). I need a good coop buddy to complete the campaigns with, preferably on Hard to kill two birds with one stone. Any takers? Game's cheap! Someone with some strategy skills is preferred. I'll be blunt (and honest) enough to say I'd rather not game with someone who can't pull their weight (strategy games can be a cold bitch sometimes), but if you think you can hack it, give me a shout. I'm also bouncing through other games I own, snagging points as I go.

In other boosting news, if anyone wants to play waves 1-40 on Memorial or 1-50 on Nowhere in Gears 2, boost Wolfenstein, Command and Conquer 3, or Shadowrun, let me know.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Dangerous Phrase

"This review is going to be fun."

Watch out for those words. It's true I like gaming, and enjoy the review writing process. Seeing one's name in print before an audience the size of x360a is always satisfying. However, as a few of you have perhaps noticed, the phrase "this review is going to be fun" is reserved for a very special class of game.

If I'm picking out a specific review as 'fun' it's because it's that rare class of game where I get to see how creative I can be in fairly and articulately give it the justice it deserves by ripping it to pieces. Only the worst of the worst bring out the real biting side of my writing capabilities, and it's great fun from time to time. I cite Onechanbara, and parts of Darkest of Days and Warhammer Battlemarch as examples.

Rogue Warrior, prepare to weep. The wheels of my brain have been spinning for days on ways to write the literary equivalent of a SAW-movie trap for this game. I have more time yet as with my work schedule I'm not going to get too far into the draft tonight.

If anyone tells you Rogue Warrior is alright, ok, or decent, punch them in the mouth. It's a horrible lie. I'm going to stop there for fear of letting any zingers fly early.

This review is going to be FUN!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

An Overdue Update

What a month it's been. I've been so busy with work, and trying to relax and unwind when at home, that writing for this blog fell by the wayside. My scoring has slowed down considerably lately, cause I just can't bring myself to whore points after a 12 hour work day. We're also so far behind the top three teams, that I just can't see us getting back into it. The numbers those 3 teams are putting up is simply too good, and I don't have the motivation for a chase. If I knew 100% everyone on my team would absolutely bust their balls chasing the lead, I'd join in, but I don't see that happening.

I'm still working on scoring, just not as hard core. I have Mini Ninjas, The Clone Wars, Brave, GI Joe, and Rogue Warrior that I'm working through for points. At the same time, I've been slowly shifting gear into what my MO for next year will be. 2010 is all about completion, and adding more impressive points to my card. I'd like to have a better completion percentage, and actually finish more of those games I've already paid for. I'm also hoping to save up some cash by buying fewer games so I can buy a nice sound system for my TV, with a new TV around Black Friday next year (maybe).

One the completions front, I'm closing in on the 1125 in Borderlands. I only need to get to level 50, and get the Siren and Hunter achievements. I've also completed all the Special Ops achievements in Modern Warfare 2. One of the Firefight achievements I had left in ODST went down too. I could cross 200k without ever putting a new game on my card, so that's the goal I'm chasing. Of course, with all the good games coming out in 2010, I'll have to pick up some of the new stuff. However, since my local Family Video is so incredible about getting new releases, I probably won't have to purchase most of them.