Young adulthood, existentialism, and podcasts!

Things have changed brothers. I'm a different person than I was a few years ago. College is over and I've been working a full time job as a paramedic for over 2 years. I know everybody says that college is the best time of your life but goddamn! Being a real adult is worse than I imagined. Sometimes I feel like I sold my soul for a steady paycheck. I've gone through periods where I've been like "fuck games" and I take them all out of my room, thinking they're just a waste of time. But I've always relapsed; usually with a bender of a gaming weekend.

Young adulthood sure is a hard transitional period. I feel like I'm stagnating, yet when I get free time on the weekends, instead of pushing myself forward I often delve into a make believe world of video games in favor of improving my reality. Of course this isn't helped by the fact that I've been consuming a fair amount of alcohol....

Do you guys ever get the urge to drop video games entirely, with the hope that in doing so your reality will improve? I find it odd that I probably spend more time listening to gaming podcasts than I do actually gaming. Gaming podcasts are valuable to me because they make me feel less lonely and they make my commute more bearable. But sometimes I feel like they may be doing more harm than good. Maybe it's bad to often have voices in your head yet not be able to participate in the conversation? Maybe podcasts are making me even more introverted? Maybe I should just sit in silence and contemplate more often?

I don't know guys. Is anybody picking up what I'm putting down? Anyway.... Stay frosty fellow young adults!

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What do Achievements Achieve?

Last weekend while I was playing Resident Evil 5, the desire to collect achievements struck me for the first time since I've had a 360, which has been over two years now. It was lazy Sunday afternoon, and I was working on my second play through of the game on veteran, nearing the end. I really enjoyed this game, and I didn't want to stop playing, so I looked at it's achievement list. Happily, many of them looked well thought out, fun, and not cheap. I got to "work" on what looked like the easiest achievement that I'd missed, and worked my way up, unlocking a bunch.

This is when the awesomeness of achievements first struck me personally. They're great for going back into games that you've already beaten but still haven't gotten sick of, and are looking for more to do. Even better, many well implemented achievements will help point out gameplay elements that you might have missed the first time around. When I went back to Dead Space, I was enticed to try a few of the guns that I had never touched, and they were all fun and new (except for the flamethrower which sucks).

Achievement points serve as a sweet meta-game to make great games even richer, plus its also satisfying to unlock one in a not so great game, strangely making your time spent playing it seem more valuable. Plus that "ding" noise that plays after unlocking one is frickin sweet!

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Dead Spaced

Dead Space is a game about production values. It's biggest strength is it's production values, its graphics and audio, that makes what would otherwise just be

Isaac Clark
a solid but forgettable shooter into a great game. The gameplay is tight as can be, but it adds few new ideas to the survival horror equation. Certainly it’s not what made this game compelling for me. Nor was it scare factor; it was only the first stage that truly frightened me. After that I all but became immune to its frequent sudden loud noises and creatures jumping out of the blue. It definitely wasn’t the games story that did it for me either. As far as games go it’s alright but otherwise it’s not very interesting.

The sheer technical prowess of this game is what’s really noteworthy. It has the best graphics I’ve ever seen on the 360, and great art design. The character you control, Isaac Clark, wears an awesome looking suit, and he’s a great example of character design done right. The environments consistently look terrific, with fantastic lighting and sound design to make really atmospheric levels. A little more variety in the way levels looked would’ve been awesome (you’re in the same spaceship the entire game), but who

Plasma Cutter
can complain when your senses are constantly amazed by what’s there.

Dead Space is polished to a shine, and I didn’t see a single bug or glitch while playing it. It’s a pretty much flawless product, but

Necromorph
I hope the designers are a little more imaginative when it comes to gameplay and story when the sequel inevitably comes out.
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Where's Popular Pages That Need Your Help??

I'm liking the new site redesign a lot, but there's one old feature that I miss a lot. It's the "popular pages that need your help" segment that used to own a prominent place on the the homepage. As a new member who's looking to contribute to the sites wiki element, this list was really useful to know some of the few pages that haven't already been thoroughly edited. Does this feature still exist anywhere?

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Rolando, Apps Store Gaming

After my Zune (yes I had a Zune, and I liked it too) inexplicably broke last week, I decided it was a good time to upgrade to an Ipod Touch, mainly because I use my MP3 player all the time and I didn't want to go long without one. Podcasts are often what I use to kill my traveling time. Having a mobile web browser has been my favorite new feature, but I was excited from the start to try what is probably the best game available on the Apps Store, Rolando after hearing some hype for it on a couple of podcasts (1up FM and 1up Yours).

Simple but cool.

I wasn't disappointed. I'm only half way through the game, but I feel confident in saying that Rolando is a game that can easily compete with some of the best DS and PSP titles out there. It's becasue Rolando is built from the ground up to make good use of the platform that its on. Gameply consists of tilting the IPod to roll your Rolando through simple, sparsely-textured 2D platforming environments while solving puzzles that make sense and (so far at least) lack frustration. The only other way to manipulate your Rolandos is to make an upwards swipe anywhere on the screen to make them jump, which works well enough. The best part about Rolando is that it could only work on an IPod touch/phone, and that it can be played in real short chunks, or for longer sessions if you desire. This is crucial for a succesful IPhone game, where the best time to play is usually when your just trying to kill a few minutes. You can exit the game at any time and be sure that it'll auto save and start back up right where you left off.

Yes, Rolando is a straight up stylistic rip-off of PSP's LocoRoco, which i played only a little, but as far as I can tell its a big improvement. An IPhone game this good can get a pass for this artistic theivery this early in the life of the apps store. If other games start to follow Rolando's design philosophies, the IPhone has the potential to be a great, and most importantly, the most convenient mobile gaming platform out there. Next game up: Field Runners.
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In the Beginning

So I've had this urge to start writing something. Simultaneously I've become really interested in trying to blog, even if its really for no one but myself.  I'm curious to see if I have any chops as a writer, and I'm looking for another source of creative output. At this late hour, I figured I give it a shot. And what better place to start then on my favorite website, GiantBomb!

My first console.

I've been playing games all my life. As long as I can remember, there has been copious amounts of games in my household. This can be attributed to the fact that I have two significantly older twin brothers wh o are also into gaming. They started with an NES, but it was their Genesis that I really cut my teeth on. It was the Shinin g Force series that took the place of my first favorite games ever. Games have also been the best medium to get my imagination and excitement going, and they have the potential to provide a sense of escape from a sometimes dull world like nothing else.

I used to be an avid fan of the site GameSpot before the infamous GerstmannGate, and after I found out through a friend where Jeff's work took him,  I was eager to watch the growth of GiantBomb. The series "How to Build a Bomb" was an early favorite, and it was very intriuging to see how someone went about setting up a kick-ass gaming website.
The start of the Giant Bombcast was a great moment in this sites timeline, and it remains my favorite feature on GB.

When GiantBomb "blew up" in the summer after its release by adding its wiki features and user contributions, I thought it was a genius way to make this into a site that has enough game info to compete with bigger corporate sites like 1up, IGN, and Gam
And my first favorite game.
espot. I considered the possibilities, and I watched as the community grew and the site quickly became a huge info store for almost any game imaginable. I was amazed to see all that Jeff and Ryan was able to get started all on their own, and it made me feel good to see how things like that were possible.

I want to see if its possible to get involved in this community and see what it'll mean. In this day and age where seemingly everyone and their mother has a blog, can I write anything that anybody cares about? This is my attempt to find out.

Any tips about how to get involved or comments will be appreciated. Thanks GB.

                                     -AC

 
 
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