This Day of Days

I'm a teacher in Australia currently in the 2nd week of the two week school holidays. My wife had a day in at work today, so my plans were to get some marking done, play some video games and just relax.

That changed when I woke up and logged into Facebook. The Giantbomb page had a link to what seemed unbelievable news.

The website wouldn't load.

Twitter was abuzz confirming the news.

You hear about 'celebrities' and their deaths and generally, the sense is 'wow, that's sad', but I don't really experience true sadness (Heath Ledger, James Gandolfini etc). Even when I admire someones work, it doesn't hit me.

This did.

Hearing of Ryan was like losing a friend.

I've followed GB from the beginning. I first became aware of the Hotspot in 2003, I was in Yr 11 of school and podcasts were a relatively new thing to me.

Then Jeff left and so did Ryan and they brought along Arrow Pointing Down.

Then GB started up and I followed them through.

The thing about GiantBomb is that the way the site has operated has been as personal as realistically possible. If we were to meet any one of the crew, I feel that we could talk abotu games or any assorted stupid crap.

I can never meet Ryan.

I never met Ryan, but I knew Ryan and his loss hurts, it hurts really badly.

I can't imagine the loss for Anna, Jeff, any of his colleagues, friends or family. My condolences are with them.

Ryan was Mr Charisma, a great showman, podcast host and funny funny guy. There is now a hole in the Bomb, which will likely adapt and change and 'replace' to some extent, but can never replicate or make use forget.

Cheers Ryan, you will be missed.

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The Grammar Police: Lesson One. There, they're and their.

Hello all,
 
Now I am aware that this is the internet, and people do not come here to Giantbomb to be lectured on correct sentence structure and grammar. Indeed people often intentionally type incorrectly on the internet as a way to kick back and as a means of convenience (e.g u r lame). 
However it is disheartening to see people make simple mistakes that I am certain carries over to their actual lives. Simple mistakes that are easily corrected when thought about. I myself am not the worlds premier writer or expert on grammar, and I often make plenty of mistakes. However there are some things that really irritate me and, no matter how much thought you put into your topics or threads, if you make one of these mistakes, it shows that you are not all that intelligent and essentially invalidates your arguments. I know that last bit was fairly judgemental but how you write can change the validity of the content.
 
So quite simply:
 
1. There = refers to a location or a particular point. Examples: Right = I am going over there. I see what you did there. 
                                                                                                  Wrong = Their is a fair point you have made.
2. Their = refers to ownership, something belonging or associated with one or more persons. Examples:
                                                                                                  Right = That is their opinion. I like their game collection.
                                                                                                  Wrong = I see what you did their.
3. They're = merely a contraction of 'they are'. Examples:
                                                                                                  Right = They're going to the ball game today.
                                                                                                  Wrong = They're games are amazing.
 
So to conclude, I know I'm going to come across as an English snob and a bit of a dickhead, but that's ok. If someone, somewhere, learns something from this, then I have achieved something. 
 
Cheers everyone.

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F'ing Epic (Spoilers)

Just reaffirming Dragon Age: Origins as my game of the year. And that is the Xbox 360 version!
Just finished it not 5 minutes ago and WOW. I actually enjoyed the ending and the way it presented text with images so that it could reflect on how you personally affected the world. Looking forward to a second playthrough to do things differently.
 
That final battle was crazy. A dragon is enough, but then it starts sending other troops at you as well. During that contest Wynne died, no matter how hard I tried to use taunt and war cry to get them away from her, some shrieks killed her. That was pretty bad. Her being my main healer and the only one with 'revive'. Sometime later Alistair died. Suffice to say, I couldn't bring him back. 
 
The Archdemon was pretty weak at this point, and my army troops were helping pretty well in distracting it. My main character (Lvl 19 Dwarf Warrior) was doing pretty well. Morrigan was now acting in support as healer and occasional attack spell (Winters Grasp and Blizzard mainly). When the Archdemon was JUST about dead. My main character died too. No more health potions. It looked almost over, after a bloody half hour or so of fighting, I would lose.
 
Please Morrigan, just survive. Her health dropped. She healed.
 
All my army troops died! The dragon has only one target left.
 
Check radial menu. Holy shit! Human warriors! Call those bad boys!
 
Thay run into the fray, distracting the dragon. Morrigan sits back. Heals self. Occasional grunt runs out she has to deal with.
 
Winters Grasp. Attack Attack Attack. Winters Grasp. Blizzard. Lyrium Potion. Repeat
 
Finally the dragon falls.
 
The relief was intense. I DID NOT want to do that again after getting so damn close.
 
Great Game

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Mini Heart Attack

So I have recently gotten the internet set up at my new house and, being excited by this, have poured some time back into Xbox Live. Having just picked up CoD4 (I had previously finished the single player but never had a chance to get into the multiplayer) I have been pouring a few hours into playing it. A couple of months ago, my 360 had an E74 error about halfway into our two week school holidays (As a teacher, I get these holidays too!) which was pretty tragic. The new 2 week holidays started yesterday so I have been looking forward to some solid gaming time.

About an hour and a half into my CoD4 gaming session my Xbox turned itself off and, surprise surprise, 3 flashing red rings.

My heart sank

I was crushed

Fortunately (touch wood), I was able to turn off my 360 and turn it back on and everything was fine. My hope and theory is that I had a minor power surge and the red rings were related to that as opposed to imminent hardware failure.

Ever had a situation where you thought something has broken but it hasn't? (Can be anything)

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I got a new console

and that console is......Xbox Live!
I have had my Xbox going on two years now, but have always been worried about how the wireless network adapter would work (as my internet is not that great to begin with) and it was always too difficult to physically link the 360 and the net. So I held back, and have contented myself with offline singly player experiences, which have still been awesome.
Finally last week I bit the bullet and tried it out. The net works fine and HOLY SHIT Xbox Live is awesome.
It really is like having an entirely new console. Playing all the games I love on multiplayer, opening capabilities in games I hadn't been able to experience before (e.g Team Fortress 2 in the Orange Box), getting new updates for games (Burnout Paradise, SO AWESOME), purchasing games (Braid, Rock Band DLC, GTA The Lost and Damned Brother).

I wasn't really expecting a lot out of Xbox Live, not being a huge fan of online multiplayer. But this has gone far beyond my expectations. It also is making me consider purchasing games that I had previously only hired because of their short single player (CoD4 is the main example of this)

The only negative is the struggle to find a good Australian online community to decrease the lag somewhat. But the lage isn't even all that bad on the majority of games.

I just hope that my internet keeps liking this and that I don't use all our allotted bandwidth

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Back From Holiday and the question is...what would you play?

Having just returned from a recent holiday to Daydream Island in the beautiful Whitsundays off the coast of Queensland and having returned home to Sydney, the question I have posed myself is what should I now play?

Daydream Island

I only have a week of holidays left before school resumes and I have to get back to being a teacher so I'm looking to get in some solid gaming. So far my list includes:

1. GTA IV: I have finished it before and before my holiday started a second playthrough, I'm still on Broker Island and not too far into it but damn that game is awesome
2. Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts: About 30 Jiggies in but while I enjoy the vehicle gameplay I'm not great at creating my own vehicles
3. Fifa 09: This is not too much of a concern as it is a game that I can pick up and play anytime with a match here and there going down easily
4. The Elder Scrolls Oblivion: Have sunk about 30 hours into it but that was a while ago and I haven't played it in ages. I feel that if I were to get back into it I would have to start again so that is a big investment
5. The Orange Box (specifically Half Life 2, Ep 1 and Ep 2): I am about a quarter through Half Life 2 but am not overly enjoying the gameplay, realising that I don't like Valve's engine for FPS all that much except for fond memories of CS
6. Mass Effect: Finished it, but it is fairly awesome
7. Rock Band: Similar to Fifa 09, I can just pick up and play

It is not much of a question as I know that I will actually continue with GTA IV until I finish it again, but I'm curious as to what game from the list I have given YOU would sink your final week of holidays?
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My 2008 Favourites

I know this is not an entirely original concept but here goes. Mine is probably going to be limited to a top 5 because I don't play a massive amount of different games but here goes, in no partifular order.

1. Burnout Paradise

This seems to have gone unnoticed by a lot of people who may have forgotten that it was released back in February. This is one of my games of the year despite my personally not having access to DLC. Even without the DLC this game is just plain fun to pick up and play.


2. Fallout 3

This game did not disappoint me in any way shape or form. I found it to be more enjoyable than Oblivion (because I prefer the setting, strange as I used to be big into fantasy). The way this game feels and immerses you in the environments is just epic.


3. Gears of War 2

Bigger and better than its older brother, with a more fleshed out plot and better cutscenes. This game is an unforgettable experience.


4. GTA IV

I recently hired Saints Row (yes the first one) and playing that made me re-appreciate just how awesome and amazing GTA IV is and what a big step forward it took for gaming. So much so that I am playing it again because of its pure awesomeness


5. Rock Band

Thats right, the first one. But it's a 2007 game I here you cry. Ah not here in good old Aus, where it was released a week before Guitar Hero: WT and despite us being screwed by Harmonix, I just can't stay mad at this game.


This was a stellar year for games in my opinion, and there are certainly some others I'm looking forward to getting to when I upgrade my entertainment systems (with a HDTV and internet). An honourable mention would go to Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise which is Viva Pinata, and that's all it needs to be.

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Lame

wasn't going to get it anyway (my PC is too crap) but I think it is a pretty lame idea, even if all of the games are big enough to be games in their own rights. Part of the fun is playing as each of the different factions without being locked into just one. Sure you have a preference for one over the other but sometimes you feel like a change, and it is great to see the story from each perspective. Having to shell out money for that 3 times would suck

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