Happy Easter Sunday, everyone! I always feel a bit weird celebrating these religious holidays like Christmas and Easter. It’s really more of an excuse for my family to get together and eat though, more than anything else. Later today I’ll be heading over to my grandma’s house for a meal that will no doubt be entirely too large. It’s kind of a shame that I’m not feeling so well today. I’ll probably not eat a whole lot, but there’s always leftovers.
As all my fellow dedicated Whiskey duders are already aware, the sites went down for a good two days or so. That was rough. It seems kind of sad when I’m sitting in the Steam chat for hours listening to Dave’s (amazing) radio show and waiting for a few web sites to go live again. That’s totally a testament to Whiskey’s sites, though. I’m obviously a huge fan of them, and I was out of sorts when I couldn’t get my fix. I’m glad everything’s back to normal, even though there was definitely some kind of sick joy in the way that everything played out. Huge props to the whole Whiskey team for doing a bunch of crazy shit to keep us loyal fans entertained. Dave, you seriously should consider doing a full-time radio show. Listening to that was such a great and unexpected joy as a result of the sites temporarily biting the dust. I’ve noticed that that’s a general trend in life. Something bad happens, then that leads to something good that you’d have never gotten to experience otherwise. Things are never as bad as they seem they may be, and there’s always an upside. So thanks again to Whiskey for making sure that trend rang true.
I played some games this week. Weird, right? I finally received my wired 360 controller in the mail from Amazon a few days ago, so I started playing Max Payne on PC; Steam sales strike again. I also played a crap-ton of Borderlands, which I’ll talk about a bit later. As far as things outside of gaming, I’ve been watching a lot of basketball.
I made a promise that I’d let you guys know exactly what’s happened in the NBA Playoffs regarding the Portland Trail Blazers in this week’s blog. The time is now! I’m sure some of you will read this section. Of course the majority of you are likely going to move on to the next section because this is a video game website, and what am I doing writing about basketball? Completely understandable, but if you go that route, you’ll never know what you’ve missed. This Blazers/Mavericks first round Playoff series has been as exciting as a fan could ask. Venture into the realm of basketball with me.
Where will amazing happen, you ask? None other than the Rose Garden Arena in Portland. The game that wrapped up last night (game 4) was undoubtedly the greatest Playoff comeback victory in Portland franchise history, and one of the best comebacks in Playoff history. Period.
The game started as awful as could be. The Mavs played tough defense and held the Blazers to just 11 points in the first quarter. The Blazers got back on track a bit in the second quarter scoring a better 24 points. Things started to slip again in the third quarter when the Blazers came out of halftime missing their first 15 (!) shots from the field. That’s not gonna win games. They rallied and brought their third quarter score up to 14, only due to a desperation three at the buzzer. At this point the Mavs had taken their opportunity to get on track and pull away with the lead as Portland continued to struggle. The Mavs lead was at 24 just before the fourth quarter. Things looked insurmountable as the Portland offense could just never get going. Barely managing 45 points before the start of the fourth quarter should lead to a loss. Something happened on this magical afternoon, though. Brandon Roy showed up.
As most of you probably aren’t aware of who Brandon Roy is, he’s Portland’s former All-Star. Three-time All-Star in fact, and don’t forget rookie of the year in 2007. He was working his way into the conversation of being the best shooting guard in the Western Conference along with Kobe Bryant. This was all before some extremely unfortunate injuries to Brandon’s knees over the past couple of years. Little injury after little injury eventually took their toll and Brandon ended up having most of the meniscus taken out of his knees. That means no cushion in his knees. Bones now rub against other bones, and its just bad news. Long story short, lots of people in this city, as well as around the nation, were saying that Brandon was essentially done. That he’d never reach his former level of play again. It seemed like a sad reality at times when he’d come off the bench for 15 or so minutes a game, and score just two points. To sprinkle a bit of drama on all of this, Brandon made national news for sating frustrations after being the last player off the Portland bench in game two against the Mavs, and ultimately being very ineffective. Brandon also stated in an interview that during that ineffective game two, he was sitting on the bench telling himself that he couldn’t start crying. That may sound like he’s just throwing a fit, but in his situation, it’s understandable. Going from the face of the franchise, do-no-wrong Brandon Roy, to an ineffective benchwarmer in a very short amount of time would be hard for anyone. Especially someone like Brandon who is such a competitor. I can’t even imagine how helpless he felt as Dallas won games one and two.
With that bit of history, game four became so much more than it would have regularly been. If you remember, Portland was struggling mightily shooting the ball. Scoring wasn’t coming easy, and they went into the fourth quarter down something like 19 points. When a team’s down by that much going into the fourth quarter, they obviously have a hard time winning. Portland needed something to click. They needed a miracle. Well, Brandon carried the momentum of his third quarter buzzer-beating three into the fourth. He hit an elbow jumper here, a drive down the lane for a layup there. He even got the ball to scorers in spots for them to score a bit as well. By about the three minute mark, the game had been brought back to a single-digit lead. Brandon Roy was hitting threes all over the floor. He even was fouled on a three, made the shot, and got himself a four point play. He was just hitting shot after shot. It was as if he was his old self again, doing everything. Brandon’s final bit of magic came when he gave the blazers a two point lead after banking in a go-ahead floater with about 30 seconds left. A couple more shots were taken after that, but none were made, and the Blazers pulled out the game in miraculous fashion on the shoulders of Brandon Roy. Roy scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, which is insane. That’s a decent total for an entire game. As one ESPN reporter aptly described the performance:
Edit: Just stumbled across this fan-made video that tells the story of game 4 nicely. Check it out:
“ Brandon Roy, who has no knees but apparently unlimited heart, outscored the Mavs by himself in the fourth quarter to carry the Blazers to the biggest comeback in Portland playoff history. “
If you want to watch the rest of this series play out, you may be able to catch the remaining games on TNT. If not there, then most likely on NBA TV. I can’t promise crazy-ass historic comebacks every game (nor would I want them), but these two teams have been brawling so far. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see a lot more exciting basketball played before the series is over. Let’s get out of this damn first round, Portland!
Reusing banners makes me happy, so there it is. No point in making a new one, really. So yeah, I continue to truck in Borderlands. Last week I’d only gotten my Siren through level ten if I recall, and really hadn’t gotten into the meat of the game. I’d say I’ve definitely gotten into the meat now though, as I’ve beaten the main storyline. I’ve come to a realization during all of this: Shooting dudes in the face is super fun. It’s slightly baffling that Borderlands manages to make shooting alone so fun. The sheer variety of weaponry that finds its way into your possession over the entirety of the game provides seemingly eternal satisfaction. Tired of shooting dudes completely in-half with your badass revolver? Switch to that new crazy alien gun that you picked up and use that for a while. Now switch to an SMG or combat rifle with incendiary damage and you can have yourself another new experience. I like that aspect a lot. The ability to find a super crazy gun at any given time keeps the game exciting. Loot--there’s nothing quite like it.
Of course, I may have kinda, sorta cheated a bit in my loot gathering. I’ve been jumping into co-op with Borderlands Professional and Whiskey User Extraordinaire, Sparklykiss. The first time we played, within probably a minute there was an enormous pile of very expensive guns, class mods, artifacts, etc. on the ground. I was overwhelmed, but ended up doing as instructed and selling the majority of it for mad cash. I was level ten, and had over a million Borderlands dollars. I think that I kept a gun or two as well for some reason. I’m still not to the point that I could use the majority of that stuff. So anyway, that was very kind. I got a jump start, and then lots of power levels. So many levels! We completed some missions co-op and of course ended up achievement hunting throughout. I already have 43 achievements and 835 points, all thanks to Sparklykiss. Thanks so much for the help; you’re awesome! We still have to do that Mad Moxxi stuff at some point. I’m not sure why exactly, but your two missing achievements get my OCD juices flowing. When you’re that close to an S-rank, you’ve gotta snag it. I may have an achievement addiction...
Anyway, as amazing as Borderlands is, there’s definitely some technical issues I had with it. The framerate--while usually not an issue--becomes a problem when looking through a scope and shooting a dude’s head off. I’m not sure if the scope part has anything to do with anything, but the spurting blood probably doesn’t help the frames’ cause. It gets real choppy; shockingly choppy even, in spots. It’s not at all game-breaking since it’s just every now and then, but it’s something that probably wouldn’t be an issue on the PC version. there are some pretty harsh texture pops as well, but that’s almost completely a non-issue. It would be nice if it didn’t happen, but I’m not that much of a whiner to complain about little things like that. I don’t know if anyone else had this problem, but I had a few instances where I fell into spots of the map that were almost impossible to escape from. I believe I did end up escaping each time, but I didn’t think I would be able to a few times. It almost seems like there should be a reset position function or something, similar to racing games. Or maybe just block off the useless cracks and crevices a bit better.
Even after completing the main storyline, I still have quite a bit to do. As mentioned last week, I picked up the GOTY version with each DLC pack. I haven’t touched those yet, so I’m really looking forward to doing that. I totally want to go back through the main game as another class now as well. I’m just going to say it again: hell of a lot of game for just $19.99.
Claptrap Proposes [source]Fellow user Vortexus1981 actually posted this on the forums earlier, but I want to keep the Borderlands theme rolling for a bit here. The jist of it is that a couple, a guy named Ben and a gal named Tora, love playing Borderlands together, so Ben asked Gearbox for some help with a marriage proposal. The result is this amazingly awesome video of Claptrap being Claptrap. It’s a must-see:
I’m super impressed that Gearbox would go out of their way to create something like this. According to Kotaku’s article, it took a week to make. As I mentioned in Vortexus1981’s thread, I’m really starting to love Gearbox. Randy Pitchford is awesome of course, but between the quality games that Gearbox has always released, the fact that they’re releasing the unreleasable DNF, and then things like this, they just seem like some great people. Everyone seems to be turning on BioWare after DAII, but they’re probably still my favorite dev. Gearbox has been clawing its way up my personal list though. Maybe I should make a list of favorite devs with the GB list feature!
More Poke-uh-mans are comin’ [source]According to a Destructoid article, a new Pokemon game may be announced next month. No details have been announced, or even rumored it appears. Of course it could be Pokemon Gray, which seems likely considering that they’re made those follow-up games to every previous generation. The Destructoid editor seems to think it’ll be a spin-off game though; something like Pokemon Snap. I have to admit, Pokemon Snap on a 3DS, with the 3D cameras, could be kind of amazing. If it’s nothing more than Pokemon Gray, then color me uninterested. I still have Black to beat, and generally those follow-up games don’t add a lot of new content.
For some reason Pokemon game speculation always interests me. I blame growing up with the Red Version. *shrugs*
OK, deep breath. Let’s finish this extra-long blog extravaganza. I’ll lay the blame on Easter for this one. No idea why, however. Holidays inspire writing I suppose.
Well, really no good reason to talk about my birthday right now as it’s not until May 12th, but I will anyway. I’ll be 21 soon and that’s kinda cool I guess. I’m far from being “that guy” that goes out and gets super drunk on their 21st birthday. I can almost drink legally now, but I’m not exactly dying to. I don’t understand the need some people have to drink until they can’t feel feelings anymore (Family Guy reference :D) and then vomit into the toilet all night. I’d like to avoid that, thanks. I may take a shot or something, but that’ll probably be the end of it. I love my liver, and I wouldn’t want it to suffer any more than necessary. The biggest upside that I can see of turning 21 would be the ability to work at places that serve booze. There’s this awesome pizza place that I’ve always wanted to work for, but you have to be 21. Anyway, any of you duders feel the same way? It may make me boring, but whatever. :/
I hope everyone enjoys their holiday.