Hello.

I honestly have no idea whether or not anyone follows my blog anymore. It's been a year--a fucking year--since I've posted anything. So, if no one out there is reading, that's understandable. 
 
And this isn't really a re-introduction, just more of a blog to make sure anyone who did enjoy my blog, videos and other assorted stupidity can still find me. You can find me first on Twitter. Next, you can find me at my pretty much brand spanking new website entitled "Awkward Nerd". It's bare bones, no-frills. I'm just using it as a repository for some ideas and hopefully will be a place where we can talk in a little bit more detail than what Twitter's 140 characters allow.  
 
So yeah, that's it! I hope to see you on Twitter and/or my blog. Take it easy, folks!

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Flower: A Love Song To The Beauty of The World

Last week, I sat among friends and stared up at the stars. A meteor shower provided the “fireworks” for the evening, but simply laying on my back and looking upwards was enough. It harkened back to when I was a child and did the same from time to time, when I would simply look at the twinkling sky and marvel at its beauty. Back then, I wanted to hold the sky in my arms; to hold and breathe in its significance.

Obviously, that isn’t going to happen, but it did remind me of the only game that put me back into that kind of frame of mind: Flower. Flower is a love song to the innate, simple beauty of the world that is so easily missed, especially as we continue to progress technologically. We’re all consumed by the variety of different things that vie for our time: Bills that must be paid, relationships that must be tended to, education, careers, you name it.

But when I’m playing Flower, all those concerns melt away for a slight moment. No longer is my mind wandering off to the trivialities of the day that bring me unending pressure. It gives me a chance to stop and revert to a simpler time that we probably all remember when we were younger and didn’t constantly worry about our appearance, our futures, and weren’t so acutely aware of the world as it is. Instead, we’re placed inside rolling hills with blades of grass swaying in the wind, with a bouquet of mult-colored flower petals sweeping through the air.

To maintain its credibility as a “video game”, Flower does have a linear narrative, insofar as you have to complete certain objectives to progress into the next area. It is an unfortunate nod to video game conventions, one that was unavoidable to put in the game. Yet, Flower is at its best when you throw away the game’s bow to video game convention and treat it simply as an open-world game. You’re not interested in picking up the different flower petals that push you quickly into the next area, but you’re gliding along the blades of grass, evoking that sense of freedom you feel when driving along the road, hand outside the door and feeling the wind brush against your hand.

You’re free from your responsibilities and your fears, insulated from both within this virtual world. Perhaps there’s a life lesson to take from navigating Flower without purpose: To be grateful that you’re still flying, even if you’re not progressing. 

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Let's Talk Fallout 3

Hey, is this thing on?
 
Oh, hi there. I used to blog at Giant Bomb. But...not so much these days. But I'm still writin'. What have I been writing about? Thanks for asking, bud. I appreciate the question.
 
Fallout 3 is the answer. In particular, the Vault sequence of Fallout 3, which I found particularly awesome. So after reading my glorious thoughts on the matter, how did you like the Vault sequence? Anything you thought they could have done better? Etc., etc.,
 
Let's have a girl talk about this game. Maybe even make it a weekly thing, just between us.

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How My Dad Ruined Zelda For Me, Or How My DadTurned Me to Games

Here's a little Father's Day article I wrote. I'll just post it in full here instead of being a shill for once. (JUST ONCE!) Hope you enjoy:

Gaming has always held a special place in my heart. For as long as I can remember, a controller has never been too far out of reach. Over the years my gaming interest has ramped up and waned when other interests took up time, but even if I haven’t always been a “core” gamer, playing some form of a video game has been a constant throughout my life. On this Father’s Day, I think I know why that is – my Pops.

My father wasn’t and still isn’t your most technologically sound person. At the ripe age of 67 with about eight years of Internet experience under his belt, he knows what a processor, RAM, and hard drives are and how to install them – but he still hunts and pecks away at his keyboard and doesn’t have a clue what blogging, Twitter or Facebook even are. But even before his foray into the Internet, this old disabled Vietnam veteran introduced me to a hobby that I can truly say I adore to this day – video games.

Despite my dad providing for me, my mom and my two sisters on a monthly disability check, he still found a way to get me a couple of the video games that I wanted, the consoles to play them, and of course, my dear subscription to Nintendo Power. It started with the Nintendo Entertainment System, moved onto the Super NES and all the way to the amazing 3D world of the Nintendo 64. Yes, I was a Nintendo kid through and through – and one game that was a constant for me throughout all of the three systems was The Legend of Zelda.

The Legend of Zelda franchise happens to be my dad’s favorite game series – and the only game series he will actually play to this day. And perhaps because of my dad, Zelda is a series I cannot usually get excited for. When I was a young pup, he had me play through the NES Legend of Zelda; but there was an incentive at the end – a real life achievement or trophy upon completion of the game: I would get to open my birthday present early.

I don’t know about you, but that game was effin’ hard, especially when I was only 7 or 8 years old at the time. I don’t remember the particular room or dungeon – I think it was Level 6 – where there was a room of a seemingly insurmountable enemies. After about two hours of consistent dying, crying and controller tossing, I finally solved it and had broken through. To this day, defeating that level, and eventually the game, remains the pinnacle of my gaming conquests. And hey, receiving a Sony Walkman at the end of it all didn’t hurt matters either.

A Link to the Past came and went, as did Ocarina of Time, but after those games, I think my experience of trudging through The Legend of Zelda on the NES permanently scarred me from loving Zelda. When I bought my Nintendo Wii at launch, the first game I might have grabbed was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but it was never really intended for me. I purchased it with the knowledge that I’d never complete it, but that the true Zelda fanatic in the Green household would tear through it with ease. He’s beaten the game completely four or five times now, obtaining every piece of heart on every playthrough. True to form, I cannot bring myself to reach the conclusion even once.

Even though he might have ruined a franchise beloved by many, he also introduced me to the world of video games. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Happy Father’s Day, Pop.


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Who Wants to Talk Some Mass Effect?

Earlier today, I wrote a massive article on Mass Effect. It examines mostly the story of the game, what I thought worked, what I thought didn't, and what could be improved. For anyone out there in the community who has played Mass Effect, I hope you join in the conversation about the game. (Or hey, at least read my blabbings on it and maybe reconsider your views on the title!)

Hope to engage you in the comments here or in the article!

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An Update of Sorts

Well, another blog from Greeno. Nothing all too special going on with me, outside of a couple of new reviews that I promised last blog. (And I'm sure you were holding your breath to read!)

Terminator Salvation and Battlestations: Pacific.

Long story short--Both games have some merit, but both received 6s due to different flaws in each of them. Terminator Salvation was an enjoyable ride, but was mind-bogglingly brief. Like--3 hours brief. Yeah. $60 for that? Hard to recommend. Battlestations: Pacific just ran out of steam at about the half-way point and just ended up being a chore to play. When it was on, though, it held some pretty fun moments.

Anyways, look for a Red Faction: Guerrilla review on Monday or Tuesday. I've played a couple hours of it so far and it is definitely a lot of fun.

Take care!

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A Couple New Things

So, a couple of things have happened since the last time I blogged. Chiefly among them, I reviewed two games: Patapon 2 and UFC: Undisputed.

If you'd rather not read my long-winded observations on those two titles, the much shorter version is that I enjoyed my time with both games, but UFC: Undisputed was the better game.

I've got another review coming in the near future--Battlestations: Pacific. Probably will have that out by Thursday, seeing how the Cavs/Magic game ruined a lot of my alloted gameplay time I was hoping to get in with the game. On the review horizon, Terminator Salvation and Red Faction: Guerrilla should be coming over the weekend or next week, pending on when I receive review code. Super, super excited about Red Faction: Guerrilla.

Take care, folks!

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On Plants vs. Zombies

I finished Plants vs. Zombies yesterday and reviewed it today, which you can read here:

I've been getting a bit more heavily into obtaining review code from developers and publishers for the site, so I unfortunately have yet to start on Blue Dragon. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get started on it this weekend with Patapon 2, Battlestations: Pacific and UFC: Undisputed all on my plate to review and Red Faction: Guerrilla looming next week.

I've been reading a little bit as well--I just finished Tipping Point--fantastic read. Very interesting, engaging and insightful looks different social epidemics and how fashion trends, teenage smoking, kids shows, best-selling books etc., "tip" and become phenonmenal successes and the types of people that help said social trends perpetuate and grow.

I'm now on How We Decide. I've yet to start it, but I've heard a little bit about it on the Out of the Game Podcast (featuring former 1UPers Jeff Green, Shawn Elliott, Luke Smith, as well as freelancer Robert Ashley and former game journalist turned consultant, N'Gai Croal.) The book deals with cognition and, if the title wasn't a dead giveaway, the processes people make when they make decisions. Should be an interesting read.

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