The Week's End #1

So... here we are again. I've tried to do this blogging thing, especially here on GB, before. And, for at least a tiny while, it worked. Remember my "One Hour In" blogs? Where I tried to recap what happened in the first hour of a game? Yeah, those were fun, and I liked them just fine, but unfortunately, I couldn't keep up the pace. I didn't have enough games, and I didn't know if I'd constantly have the patience to continually switch to a new game all the time. So, that went away. And then things happened, life got in the way, and y'know, I just got lazy.

But, what's a guy who's natural inclination is to write to do? Well, yeah, write! Duh! So, I'm giving this bad boy another shot, coming in with a whole new format, and pounding out a blog that should make my Momma proud! (if, indeed, my mother was online in any real capacity...) I'll be trying out different styles to this, hopefully settling on one that's good enough. Any suggestion, just let me know!

Let me welcome you to:

The Week's End Blog #1

Welcome, friends, to The Week's End! A little blog that will be devoted to, not only gaming an such, but to general pop culture and my silly musings week in and week out! So, let's get started, shall we?

Possible PS4 Controller Pictures?

You probably all saw these photos of what is, more than likely, the controller design for the next PlayStation (Orbis/PS4) floating around this week. Well, it certainly looks different, but also carries a design aesthetic that makes it familiar, as well. What can all the changes to it entail? Guess we'll have to wait until Wednesday to find out. (well, at least hopefully that's what we'll be seeing on the 20th!)

In the mean time, GamesRadar has a bit of speculation on what may or may not be going on with this thing.

Speaking of Controllers

Either these Dualshock 3's don't hold a charge for long enough, or I don't play my PS3 nearly as much as I should. I mean, I have three, count 'em, THREE controllers for the thing, and I had to charge all of them yesterday. The one I mainly use was low, but when I pulled the other two out of the box I keep all my controllers in, neither one would turn on. Oh well, my problems are soooo numerous...

Also, I really don't like the Dualshock 3 for FPS games. I'm not really knocking it that much, but for what it's worth, I play as many FPS games on my 360 as possible! I like you, PS3, but the 360's controller is just better for those game types.

On the Subject of FPS Games

I've tried to start playing Killzone 3. Yes, I just whined about the inferiority of the DS3's design for FPSs, but I'll just have to tough it out! Really, though, I do like this series. It looks great, the story is kind of interesting (in that, "hey, let's do something to get dudes to shoot each other" kind of way), and I do like the cover system. It feels weird at first, but once you get used to it, it's a breeze to use. I hope I can muster the interest to make it through to the end. Here's hoping it leaves the door open for future games in the series, maybe for PS4? Who knows, all I know is shooting dudes is still fun in my book.

I Seem to Shoot Many Dudes, Really

I finally made it to level 50 in Borderlands 2! This did encompass shoot many, many dudes. And critters. And monstrosities. And explosive barrels. And many other things. I did it as Salvador, the Gunzerker. On my own, too. Yep, no co-op, no nothing with anyone else. While I like playing games with others, that's not the case about 98.5% of the time. I'm a loner when it comes to games. I'm one of those weirdos who likes the Call of Duty franchise for the single-player campaign. I rarely, if ever, will play the same game my friends are playing at the same time so they won't invite me to "join their party." I liked the Autolog stuff in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, but beyond that, just don't ask me to play with you. I'm sorry if that hurts you feelings, but it's what I do! I guess I enjoy being on my own.

Lonely? No, Not So Much...

Listen, if you didn't know, Valentine's Day was this past week. Now, if you like it, that's fine. If you don't like it, that's okay too. But, leave me out of it either way. I'm almost 32, have only had one girlfriend in my life, and I'm not really interested in any kind of relationship right now. I had to tell off (well, sort of) one of the old ladies that volunteers at my workplace when she started going on and on about me and how I need to, "find someone, blah, blah, blah." Look, it's nice that you're concerned, but I know me better than you know me, and me's okay with what me wants... Uh, right? Anyway, maybe I just dislike holidays that don't let me have the day off and almost forcibly tell me to spend my money on crap that doesn't truly matter in the long run.

I Will Spend My Money on What I Want, Though

Which, funnily enough, is things that I like! Shocker, right? I've just been getting hounded by people who believe that gaming is a "waste of time and money" and believe that it's something not worth pursuing. Even a couple of my so-called "friends" on Facebook have stated as much. Listen, same as with V-Day, I really don't care what you think. I do what suits me, and gaming suits me fine. But, it's not the only thing I'm interested in. I have plenty of hobbies, and ways to relax. I spend far less money on games that so people do on things that are harmful and/or destructive. Give me a break, I'm only doing what I like! I like things you don't! Get over yourself!

Yes, I Like Things That You May Not!

*gasp* and OH NO! Can it be true? Can someone like something that I do not? Can I like something that they do not like? Can we share a planet with such differing opinions?! Turns out, the answer, shockingly, is "yes, Virginia, there is a place for that in our world." Just because I don't agree with you, or you with me, doesn't me we can't be friends or anything. Quite the opposite. I've learned, or the course of the past 30-some-odd years, that people just need to suck it up and get along. Accepting what is different in others isn't necessary, but tolerating them for a while might be. Or something... listen, all this stems from the fact that I'm a Brony (yes, yes, I know what you're thinking...), and some people find that unacceptable. Strangely, they let that one thing define me in their eyes. It ain't that simple, kids. I'm many things, and sometimes one thing. I have phases that I go through, as I'm sure you do. I almost started listing all the "labels" you could ascribe to me, but figured it would be too long to put in here. Suffice to say, I'm me. And isn't that what really counts? But yes, I'm also a Brony.

I Cried at a Cartoon This Morning... About Ponies

Yes, I will admit it. I did cry at the Season 3 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It was just... well, worthy of the shedding of tears. Tears of joy. Tears of sorrow. Tears of... whatever else there was. Hey, when you've spent three seasons watching a character change and grow and become more than she was when her journey started, you tend to get a little misty eyed. Don't tell me you didn't lose it when [insert character here] from [insert show here] had [insert thing that happened here] happen to him/her/it! I mean, I'll probably cry when they finally reveal how Ted meets his kid's mother on HIMYM. In fact, I know I will. All journeys end sometime, I'm just glad that Twilight Sparkle's will continue for at least another season! The same can't be said about some things...

Hasbro, What Are You Doing? Hasbro! STAHP!

Well, I can only lament the loss here, as little to nothing can be done. Oh, what am I talking about? Well, the fact that, maybe, just maybe, a company needs to not go all "C&D Happy" when it comes to fan projects of their IP. Yes, I know the whole thing about protecting your properties, but Hasbro killed something really cool that I was really looking forward to, and it seemed like they were initially not going to kill that thing. I am talking, of course, about Fighting is Magic, the MLP-based fighter that garnered a bunch of attention and looked to be shaping up to be a fun and cool thing. But, I guess since it had to do with the MLP license, Hasbro got all in a tizzy and shut it down. And this was after months, or even years, of work that the team had done. On their own time. With no outside financial backing. But, I guess there's just no satisfying some gigantic corporations... At least Lauren Faust offered to make some original characters to replace the ponies. It just wouldn't be the same... Still, maybe they can salvage it. Who knows?

Well, I suppose that's it for today. I hope I can keep these up, and also keep you all entertained. Please return next week to see what I have in store for you then! Until next time, my friends!

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Game Awards by Yours Truely! aka Games I Liked in 2011

So, it's that time of year again. Yes, the time when we all gather 'round with our friends and loved ones and count our blessings. We reflect on the wonder of the previous year, and look forward to what we hope will be a year to come full of joy and love.

With that out of the way, who wants some end-'o-the-year gaming award goodness by your friendly neighborhood Raditz? If you said "Oh, oh, me, I want that!" then you've come to the right place, my friend! Alright, so without further ado, here's my picks for the best (and whatever else) of the year of our Lord 2011.

The "Oh yeah, that came out this year" Award

Sometimes, it's easy to forget what came out early in the year when it comes to games; (hell, when it comes to most anything, actually) so it's no surprise that we forget about a few gems. We get so inundated with releases in the last two months of the year, that all those games just take over our memories. What games did you forget about this year? I know there are some I did! But, the one that takes the cake in this category is:

LittleBigPlanet 2

LOOKIT SACKBOY! LOOKIT HIM! He's so damned cute. And you forgot all about him, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU?!?!

Yep, this came out way back in January. Hell, I finished the damn game, and I barely remember that it was a 2011 release! A fun game, but I won't fault anyone for forgetting that the little Sack and his pals had their adventures earlier this year. But, if you've got a PS3, maybe you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy, and give Sackboy the lovin' he so deserves.

Runners Up: Dead Space 2, Pokemon Black/White

The "Best Use of a Licensed Property" Award

Now, I know what you're thinking, "This is obviously the category that Batman will win!" and I won't kid you, The Bat came awfully close, but he was edged out ever so slightly by:

Back to the Future: The Game

1.21 Gigawatts! Great Scott!

Yeah, that's right! I waited too long on this, until they compiled all five of the episodes on a disc, got it for PS3, and enjoyed the hell out of myself. I loved this way more than I think I should have, but when Back to the Future is your favorite movie ever, when something like this hits all the right notes, and does it so well, then the only answer is "give that game a (fake and meaningless) award!" Seriously, I even had tears in my eyes when the credits ended, and there was a surprise that I couldn't have been happier about. Even if that thing doesn't mean what I want it to, the other meaning that it could have makes it just as awesome. Ah, screw it, BttF: The Game was amazing to me, and a great use of the name!

Runners Up: Batman: Arkham City, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean

The "Arnold Schwarzenegger" Award for Best Use of Stupid Guns

Sometimes, you just need to shoot the crap out of someone/something, and what better way to do it than with some overwrought weapon that does far more damage than you need to do?! Yeah, guns are cool, but ridiculous guns are even better! That's why this here award goes to:


Also, kicking dudes is fun!

Seriously, the weapons in Bulletstorm start out mildly normal. Assault rifle, pistol, etc. But then -- HOLY CRAP! Hey, this gun launches grenade bolos! I can upgrade my assault rifle to fire 100 rounds at once! A cannon ball launcher? Rocket propelled drill gun?! A four-barreled shotgun?! A sniper rifle that fires manually controlled shots?! Add in the skill shot system, and Bulletstorm did everything it could to make you appreciate the over-the-top-ness of its arsenal. Also, ENERGY-LEASH! Hey, not a gun, but still damn cool.

Runners Up: Duke Nukem Forever, Shadows of the Damned

The "How the F*** Do You Say the Name of This Game?!" Award

Sure, with translations/localization become more and more better (...more gooder?...) we don't have to hardly put up with the old "A Winnar Is You" any more, but darn it, if there aren't still those tongue-twisters that eek through to end up on shelves anyway. I can speak fairly well (I keep telling myself), but even this game's title made me wonder if I'd had some sort of brain damage when I tried to read it:

Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel

At least the box art is pretty!

Seriously, the only words I know how to say in that title is "of", maybe "Knell"? Good golly, I know you want to give us games that we don't usually get over here, NIS, but dammit, if I can say the name of the damned game, how do I get it?! Good thing there's Amazon, I'd hate to try and say this to some clerk at Best Buy! Oh well.

Runners Up: Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron

The "I Should Have Played This Game, But..." Award

Okay, so, I'll admit it, I'm not much of a portable gamer. DS, PSP, hell, even my phone. I know they can kill some time when there's just a little time to kill, but I just have too many big games on my big systems that I play on my big TV that I have shunned the handhelds for too long. Fortunately, I look to remedy that soon. Anyway here's the award for I should have played this game but I didn't have a DS:

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Unfortunately, killing your protagonist doesn't seem to sell well...

Please don't hurt me! I would've loved to have played this game! Unfortunately, it was released at the beginning of the year (strike one!) when I didn't have a DS (strike two!) and there was some stuff going on that I don't want to talk about right now (strike three! I'm outta there!). Well, luckily, I'll have the ability to try it out soon, and I hope it's as good as everyone has said. Yeah yeah, excuses excuses! I'll get right on it, just don't say you told me so, I already know!

Runners Up: WWE All-Stars, Yakuza 4

The "If I Played MMOs, I'd Totally Play This" Award

Look, I've heard some of you out there like these Massovely Multiplayer Online games. It's cool. They sound like fun; ganging up with friends and going to beat up giant monsters and delve deep into dangerous dungeons. That's alright, go for it. As for me, I just don't see the appeal. I'm more of a "play this on my own" type of gamer. But, I think if I played an MMO, this would be the one:

DC Universe Online

I'd love to be the next legend!

Yessir, with a year that saw the release of The Old Republic, and the continuing popularity of World of Warcraft, among others, DCUO would be the game that I think I'd enjoy the most out of all the MMOs around. I love superheroes, and the offer to mess around in the DC universe just seems so neat and appealing to me, that were I to pick up an online game, this'd be the one! I may even try it, since it's gone Free to Play. Maybe... Hmmm... *strokes chin*

Runner Up: Star Wars: The Old Republic

The "Shoot that Dude!" Award for Most Shooting of Dudes in a Game

It never fails, each and every year, trillions of bullets are shot at billions of dudes, and those dudes eventually fall over from being hit by said bullets. And, it seems that, no matter what, people don't get tired of shootin' dudes. Hey, it seems fun, even. I'm not immune to the thrill of doing the shooting, either. I shoot my fair share of dudes, and I did so a bunch in this game:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

He's ready to shoot some dudes, you just know it!

There were a lot of dudes to shoot in this game. I mean, a whole lot. They just keep coming. And what's a highly skilled, expertly trained dude shooter to do? That's right, shoot them dudes! Thankfully, it's actually fun to shoot the dudes in this game! I had a blast trying to make my way to higher and higher waves in Spec Ops mode, the story came to a satisfying close, and although I hate the people that play multiplayer all day long and are about 8679% better than I am, at least the new support class stuff makes up for me dying a whole shitload! So, go shoot some dudes, it still pays off.

Runners Up: Killzone 3, Gears of War 3

The "Beat the Crap Out of Everyone" Award for Best Beatdowns

You know, there are times when I just want to up and whip someone's ass. You know, just to feel the rush and let them know that I'm boss. Also, dumb people need to be kept in line. Barring that, there's a few games that I can use to get my aggression out, and nothing does that better than a goof fighter! This one was the one that I felt help me relieve tension, if even just for an hour or so:

Mortal Kombat

Orange! And Blue! Those color turned up on a few boxes lately. Hrm...

Nothing beats the bloody joy of smacking around a foe quite like MK did this year. Impressive, considering that Mortal Kombat really wasn't on the best footing recently. But, NetherRealm Studios brought the franchise back from the brink (no, not that Brink, the other one. Like the edge of a cliff. Geez...) and did it with all the brutality and finesse that made this a joy to pick up. And man, those X-ray moves, Fatalities, and even some just special attack were some bone-crunchingly good that I wish I knew how to do them! ...You know, for, um, self-defense... yeah, that's it...

Runners Up: Marvel vs. Capcom 3, WWE All-Stars

The "OH GOD MY EYES!" Award for Most Prettiest Game

Graphics. You'll almost always run into that one guy who says, "Graphics aren't important, it's [insert other element of game here] that makes a game good." And you know what, he's WRONG! Now, I'll be that last to say that a game with just good graphics will be good, but without it's graphics prowess, this game would not have been anywhere near as awesome as it could've been:

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Lookin' good there Nate, lookin' real good...

Seriously, I don't know how Naughty Dog does it, but they must have some sort of magical unicorns working there, because I don't know that there's any other developer that can make anything look as good as they make Uncharted look on PS3. I can't count the times that I just went "wow" when playing this game. There were times I just had to stop and pan the camera around. If this is what they can do with this generation of hardware, I think I'll have to get new eyes when they put anything out on the PS4, because my retinas will probably melt when I see it.

Runners Up: Battlefield 3 (PC), Gears of War 3

The "I Played Entirely Too Much of This Game" Award for Game I Played the Most

Okay, full disclosure, I broke the big toe on my right foot the week before Thanksgiving this year (that's U.S. Thanksgiving, my Canadian friends) and it was bad enough that I had to have surgery to get it fixed. Meaning I was laid-up for six weeks. And that meant I had time to play a whole lot of games. But, there was only one game that captured my attention and that I played more than anything else this year. That game is:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I am Dovahkiin, Dragonborn!

Oh man. Oh man, oh man. Like I said, I broke that toe the Tuesday after this came out. Learning that I would have to stay home from work (and, well, most everything else) I reveled in the fact that I would get to delve into the world of Skyrim for huge lengths of time during any given day. And I did. At last count, I'd sunk over 200 hours across three characters into this game. And I don't regret a single second of it. Even after hours and hours of play, there would still be things I would run across, people I'd meet and places I'd go that I'd never seen or heard of before. SKYRIM! Man, now I just need to wait for the DLC...

Runners Up: Batman: Arkham City, Saints Row: The Third

The "This Made Me Feel Smart" Award for Best-est Puzzle-y/Adventure-y Game

I'm not so smart. Sometimes, I can be downright dumb. I have a hard time doing crossword puzzles in pen, and sudoku gives me a headache. That's why I general avoid games that make me have to use too much brain power. And yet, when there comes a game that makes me think "wow, I actually did that!" I really appreciate it. Thanks for making me feel smart:

Portal 2

Now you're thinking with them!

Seriously, there were times where I'd get through a test chamber, or any part of this game, and I would feel such satisfaction. And then, I'd get through the next part. And the next. Sure, there were a couple of times I got hung up, but then I'd figure out what to do. And that would just make me feel like a genius. Thanks for that, Portal 2, now I've got some calculus classes to study for, or else I won't be able to finish my real-life portal gun...

Nah! Just kidding, I'm still the dummy you know and love.

Runners Up: L.A. Noire, Deus Ex: Human Revolution

The "This is Sweet Music to My Ears" Award for Awesome Use of a Song

Very often, the music in games is just in the background. Sure, you'll notice it occasionally; but when it swells, or something significant happens, that's when it can have the biggest impact. And when a song just hits you, you know that there's something special happening at that moment. That's why this song gets this award:

Zia's Theme from Bastion

Just listen to that. Now, that's a song. But, just hearing it here might not give you the impact that it's meant to. If you've yet to play Bastion, please do. You'll know when you get to the part that this song plays why I like it some much. It just hit perfectly. Not much else to say than I love it.

Runner Up: "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler from Saints Row: The Third

The "These Are All Great Games So They Deserve Recognition" Award(s) for The Other Great Games

Otherwise know as "I couldn't think of a clever title for this" section. Right now, I just want to list the other games I think were fun and/or awesome this year. So, here's the games I think were the best of the rest (regardless of whether or not they've already been runners up in other categories):

That's it, folks!

Thanks for reading, I hope you gleaned some amount of enjoyment from this here list of games. This year was another great year to be a gamer, with offerings for everyone all around. Here's looking forward to 2012 and even more copious amounts of goodness in this here hobby of ours!


Spending all night at the hospital = not fun...

Especially when I'm not the one being treated. Anyway, I just spent the last 6 hours waiting to see if my Dad was going to have to have heart surgery or not. Fortunately, all the tests and everything revealed that his heart is fine, so that's the good news. He'll have to see if the chest pains he was having was due to something else (like a medication problem), but for now, looks like he'll live to see 60 in a couple of weeks. I have to admit that I was a little scared that they'd have to do surgery. It sucked to see my Dad, who is usually the "tough guy", seeming so helpless. He was scared, and when Dad gets scared, I don't take it well. The last time I saw him so vulnerable was when Grandpa died. I know he's only human, but a dad is the one person you look to when things go bad. If he doesn't know what to do, what then?

But, things worked out, he's home, and I just wanted to get this off my chest. To anyone who may read this, thanks for taking the time.

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One Hour In - Lucky #13!

Superstition be damned, it's another blog post!
Or, well, sort of? Okay, here's the thing. I'm a lazy bastard, and haven't gotten to anything that I wanted to. It didn't help that I started my new work schedule this past week (four 10-hour days) and getting used to that has screwed me up somewhat. Oh well, I really, truly hope that I can get my shit together for next time. So, that's it for now, hope next entry is full-fledged and entertaining and not lame-o! Peace out.

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One Hour In -- Episode #12

Update time! Who's ready to hear what's been going on in the life and times of a simple gamer? No? Well too bad! You're just gonna sit there and enjoy it. Or not, you can leave, that's fine too. Anyway, here we go again!

Great Gobs of Gaming Goodness!

This has normally been the area where I outline what I've been playing, usually that first hour of a select game. Not this week, sorry to say. I've been trying to get through my backlog pile, and it's been slow going. (I still haven't finished Final Fantasy XIII for crying out loud!) That, and I've been having to tighten up my budget after losing the extra income from my former roommate, so less cash for new games. Barring that, I've been planning on going out and digging up some older classics and getting those ready for this blog. So, while my main feature won't be as fresh as it could be (meaning filled with current-gen games) it will still be ongoing, just maybe at a little less frequency! Oh well, we do what we have to to survive!

But, as I said, many much games as of late. Still working on several titles that I should've completed months ago, but I have a tendency to go off and not finish games like I should. (heck, I still haven't finished some PSone games I've got floating around here!) But, I have vowed that I won't purchase any new games until I finish the ones that are on my shelf! So, that may end up being the next feature of this blog, what games I've finished. We'll see about that, considering I think I started something to that effect early on, but abandoned it...

Nothing's set in stone, so all this, even if this thing is months old, is still a work in progress. Hopefully I can get it all locked down, and you'll see me doing my regular thing on a regular basis without any snafus or blowouts. Also, that podcast thing I talked about last time, yeah... not happening, but I never expected it too, so nothing truly lost!

I suppose that's it for now. Please return next week when I will (hopefully) be back to some form of normal. HUZZAH!

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One Hour In -- Episode #11

What's this?! It's been a while, hasn't it? (over a month, from the looks of it) Well, circumstances conspired against me, and have kept me from updating, but that ends now! The problem, though, is that I've been having issues trying to keep up with playing any new games and keeping track of my first hour of play within said games. Not that I haven't played any new games; I just have been remiss in my duties...

Anyway, here's what's going to be happening: 1) I will continue to update this blog as regularly as I can (once a week, at the very least), 2) The regular "one hour in" feature that I've used to previously headline this blog will n longer be a regular feature. I will, to the best of my ability, try to make it work, but if it doesn't (for that week), then so be it. I won't be abandoning it entirely, because I know there are some folks who've enjoyed it. 3) Despite me doing the feature less frequently, I still will retain the name of the blog as "One Hour In". I dunno, I think it sounds interesting enough, and helps set me apart. 4) I will be (hopefully) embarking on a quest to find out how to start a podcast. Lots of other people do it, so why not me? I'm not sure what shape it will take, but I really want to try it out. If it works, it works; if not, oh well... 5) Graphical interludes! I have a mind to make this a bit more pleasing to the eye, so I'm going to try and make headers for the sections of this blog, when appropriate. I'm not the best at that stuff, but I can try, can't I?

Well, for now, I suppose that's all. I'll do my best to never abandon you all like that again. Look for another update soon!

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One Hour In -- Episode #10

I'll keep crankin' 'em out, if you keep readin' 'em! Ain't it the truth! Hell, even if I knew no one was reading these things, I'd keep doing this, if just to keep myself occupied for a little while on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. Beats doing anything important, like, say yard work (yuck!). Anyway, I guess you're all looking forward to this week's hour game session. Well, truth be told, I really did do a proper sit-down for this week. So, in lieu of that, I'll go through my impressions of the first bit of L.A. Noire. Sound good? Alright then, let's do this!

L.A. Noir

Dammit, spellchecker, I know "noire" is spelled wrong, stop it!
Man, I've been looking forward to this game for quite some time. If for nothing else than to just find out what the heck it even is! Rockstar was cagey, even right up to the game's release, as to what kind of experience it is. Luckily, having gotten my hands on it, I can say that this seems to be a cool blend of open-world and old-school adventure game. I'm liking it so far. It's a little slower-paced than I thought it'd be, but that's just fine. I expect the story to get more interesting as I get further in. I mean, I've only finished the first case after becoming a detective (I know, I know, but I just want to savor this, not barrel through it). I love the facial animation. It's almost creepy at first, but lends itself to reinforcing the realism that Team Bondi is shooting for. Just watching a person as they wait to be question is interesting in and of itself. I'm hoping that more devs can get their hands on and use this technology for future games.

Okay, on to the game proper. I get put into the shoes of one of the LAPD's finest, Cole Phelps. Cole is just a regular cop working his beat when we first meet him. Answering a call to search the scene of a murder, Cole and his partner arrive. The detectives tell the cops to search the area for any evidence. I'm introduced to the game's clue collecting mechanic here. I like the subtle musical cues, along with the controller's rumble to help locate clues. I pick up several beer bottles, a newspaper, and examine them. Cole let's me know, verbally, that these things probably don't pertain to the investigation. Searching around a bit more, I catch the glint of a reflection in a window. Appears the perp threw his gun up on the roof and beat a hasty retreat. Cole clambers up a nearby drainpipe, and secures the weapon. Cole's partner suggests they just make their way back to the police station, but Phelps has other ideas. The gun could lead them to the assailant. Cole's partner relents, and suggests they check the local gun store. Driving there and questioning the clerk leads to the revelation that the pistol belongs to one Mr. Errol Schroeder. Checking the ledger for Schroeder's address, the cops decide to pay him a visit. Locating the apartment is easy enough. Mr. Schroeder invites the officers in, but clocks Cole's partner. A quick fight ensues, and Errol is subdued rather quickly. I search his apartment for any more clues, and then haul him off to the slammer.

Next up is a bank robbery. a few well-armed men are trying to hold-up a local bank. Responding to the call, Cole and his buddy get their shoot on. Looks like this is the game's gunning tutorial. It's a simple matter to dart between and behind cover, methodically taking out the bandits. I gun them all down. Looks like the coroner will have a busy night...

As we're patrol, Cole's partner spots a guy who seems to have an outstanding warrant for breaking parole. Cole jumps out of the car, and an on-foot chase ensues, This section has me getting Cole to leap walls, shimmy up ladders, down drainpipes, and weaving through alleys. It ends with me cornering the dude on a rooftop. I knock some sense into him with my quick brawling skills, and he gets hauled off back to the stoney lonesome.

Shots fired. Cole is just on his regular beat when several gunshots are heard around the corner. He rushes to the scene to find a body lying on the sidewalk. A local says the ambulance and police have been called, but it appears the man is already dead. A pair of badges show up as Cole is assessing the situation. They form a perimeter, and Cole is asked to examine the body for evidence. I go over the stiff, find nothing of interest but a layaway receipt in his pocket. Next, it's time to question the eyewitness, Clovis Galleta. She states that the dead man was her employer, and I press her for details. The game now introduces the questioning mechanic. Not convinced that she's being forward with her, Cole keeps on her. Ms. Galleta breaks down and states that the man was probably killed by the jewelery store owner, Mr. Kalou. Satisfied with her answer, I exit the shoe store and search for more evidence. I find some shell casings on the sidewalk, and the murder weapon tossed in a trash bin. Examining the gun closely, I find the serial number on its side. I could go to the gun shop and pinpoint the owner, but I already have a good idea it's Mr. Kalou. I head to the jeweler. The man inside says Mr. Kalou isn't available, that he's out back getting some air. Cole asks for the man to go get him. The clerk relents, but then bolts out the back door! That was Kalou! I give chase through the alleys. Kalou's slippery, and I can't seem to get close enough to tackle him. Instead, I'm able to target him with my gun, and fire a warning shot to get him to stop. He's cuffed and hauled off to the police station.

Back at the station, Cole is given the chance to interrogate Kalou. Here's where I prove that I can get a confession out of this man. I grill him, asking about what happened, and presenting the evidence that there was no doubt he was the culprit. Mr. Kalou has no choice but the confess, and it looks like he's going away for a long time.

After all that, it looks like Cole Phelps is moving up in the world. He gets a promotion to detective. He's now set to work the Traffic Desk with his new partner Stefan Bekowsky. Sure, it doesn't sound too glamorous, but the captain promises better cases if Cole does well. Time to start the real detecting, right guys? Let's go for it.

And... I'm just going to stop right there. I don't want to ruin the first case for anyone. The intro was plenty, too. So far, L.A. Noire seems like a well put together game. Like I said, the facial animations are amazing, and I'm curious as to where the game's story will lead. I probably won't be going through this title at a snappy pace. I want to savor the cases, and not get through it just to get through it.

Other Happenings

Man, I really need to figure out how to do some header images to slap in here. Oh well. Here's what's been going on that I think is interesting in the world of gaming and the world in general.

Randy "Macho Man" Savage Passes

A sad, sad day for those of us who grew up watching the exploits of the WWF. On Friday, we all learned of the death of one of wrestling entertainment's greats. Randy Poffo, better know as "Macho Man" Randy Savage was killed in an unfortunate car accident in Florida. I remember vividly Mr. Savage being one of my favorite wrestlers when I was a young lad. I was very saddened by his passing, but I have a feeling he's up in heaven, elbow dropping on the angels. OH YEAH!!

PSN Returns (kinda), the Masses Rejoice?

So, after extensive rebuilding and testing, Sony finally flipped the switches and brought the PlayStation Network back online last weekend. A quick (well, for PS3) firmware update and password change and it was back to online play! Yay! Of course, the downside is, not everything has been restored; the biggest of which is the PSN Store. So, even though I could play Mortal Kombat online, since I redeemed my Konbat pass before the outage, many could not (this has since been temporarily resolved). There's that, and I also can't redeem my L.A. Noire PS3-exclusive DLC, nor anything else that would require inputting a redemption code. I mean, I won a copy of  a PSP game, but it's a digital-only copy, so no redeeming until the Store is back.
Also, on the subject of the PSN outage, Sony has outlined the "Welcome Back" package that they'll be offering. Included is free PS+, free games on both PS3 and PSP, and a bunch of stuff free for Home. Cool, free is always good. But, of course, people will gripe, and people did. Listen, it's FREE STUFF. FREE. Have some gratitude people. At least it's not nothing.

No More TV Service

I decided that I would give up my DirecTV last month, and I did. Cancelled and everything. I picked up Hulu Plus and will probably get Netflix soon. I find that I don't really miss it that much. I mean, yeah, I do kind of miss watching my afternoon cartoons (hell yes I still watch cartoons. You shut up!), but I can go without. Not much to tell, really, just wanted to put this out there.

The World Doesn't End

Oh really? Ya think?! Personally, I'm glad. I want to finish this backlog of games I have first. Jesus needs to wait until at least 2030 to came back. I think I'll be finished with all these games by then. Of course, Duke Nukem Forever 2 will probably be out that year, so maybe not...
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One Hour In -- (Special) Episode #9(!)

Hi gang! What's shakin'? I just wanted to put this out here this evening, since I'll be a little busy this weekend and unable to post on my usual day (that being Sunday). "Busy with what, Mr. Raditz?" you may ask. Why with a fairly important milestone, I suppose:

I Am Turning 30 Saturday!

Yes, that's correct. Your little boy is all growed up! 30 years of having to put up with this planet's insanity, and I have yet to go crazy myself. Call it what you will, I'll call it a "win"! So, I will be occupying myself with the love and fellowship of my friends and family pretty much all weekend long. But, fret yourselves not, for I will return next weekend with a regular, worthy blog entry with which to entertain and inform. As always, if you have got any games you'd like me to cover for an hour play session, all you've gotta do is give me a holler.

And with that, I bid you all a fond farewell, until next week, chickadees!

One Hour In -- Episode #8

Howdy y'all! A Happy Mother's Day to you and yours. I hope you all did something nice for your moms on this day. I had a nice lunch with my mommy, and we're going out to the movies later this week as my present to her. Hey, it's what she wanted! So, I guess you're eager to delve into my next entry in this series. Well, I can assure you, we'll be getting to that right... NOW!

Zack & Wiki: The Quest for Barbaros' Treasure

I've had this game for quite a while, but I never actually played it. I don't know why, I just didn't. So, looks like it's time to remedy that! Let's start up this sucker.
We first meet our heroes flying along in a rickety old plane, piloted by Johnny Style - a bunny. Zack is snoozing away. Wiki, a golden monkey who can fly and shape-shift, attempts to wake Zack. His efforts are in vain, until he tricks Zack into waking up by announcing there's a load of treasure! We learn that These guys are a part of the Sea Rabbit pirate crew. They're on the way to seek out treasure, fame, and fortune! Unfortunately, their current mission is interrupted by an attack! The Rose Rock pirates, lead by Captain Rose, ambush our heroes. It seems Rose is after a treasure map that's in the possession of the Sea Rabbits. The Rose Rocks fire, and Thugs #1-#7 hop on the plane and begin pounding away with mallets. Johnny Style decides it's a good time to get out of there, so he ejects, leaving Zack & Wiki to fend for themselves. The pair open the plane's rear hatch an leap out as the craft explodes!
Now the two are falling through the sky. Fortunately, some of the supplies that were on the plane are falling around them also. Scanning the boxes, I grab an old umbrella and slows his descent. The pirates land in the jungle below, partially unscathed. Zack has to free himself from being snagged in a tree. Hey, Wiki points out a rather large treasure chest just across a gap. That looks promising! But what's this? Uh oh, looks like part of the plane has landed in a fast-flowing river above. Searching around, there appears to be a tree nearby that could help get the pair across to the treasure chest. How to topple it, though? Suddenly, a giant centipede drops out of the trees. With a quick ring of Wiki, (that's right, you can ring him like a bell.) the bug turns into a saw. Don't ask me how, it just does! ! pick up the saw and cut the tree down. We're able to get to the treasure now. It appears that there's a curse placed on the chest. No problem, Wiki is able to dispel the curse with his ring. Opening the chest, we discover a golden skull inside. Alright, our first real treasure! What's this, though? It can talk! The skull informs us that his name is Barbaros, a legendary pirate captain, and he needs our help. His body was cursed and split into pieces. If we can find all the parts and put him back together, he promises to take Zack & Wiki to the fabled Treasure Island (no, a different one) and hand over his famous pirate ship! What a great deal! Zack agrees. What could possibly go wrong?
We return to the Sea Rabbits' hideout, and meet the rest of the Rabbits (who are, literally, rabbits). Captain Hulk is the leader, and we have to go through him to start our adventure. So, I'm off to find more pieces of Barbaros. I find myself outside a locked door. Searching around, it appears there's a key to the door hanging up high, but it's out of reach. I look around, and discover a pot with a snake in it. Using Wiki's bell ring, the snake is transformed into a grabber. I can grab the key now. Using it to open the door, I go inside the small underground chamber. There's a pit of spikes below a rickety lattice of wooden beams. Looks like I'll fall through it if I walk on it. There's a chain hanging from the ceiling. I use the snake grabber again, pulling the chain. The ceiling collapses, filling in the spike-filled pit, and allowing me to get to the treasure chest. Another part of Barbaros! He sounds eager to be reassembled, so I want to help him quickly.
The next puzzle involves dancing goblins, a chest on fire, and mushrooms. I can't be seen by the goblins, or they'll eat me alive! So, I take a look around. There's a gondola that I can take across to the other side of the stage, or gain access to the chest. Unfortunately, the chest is on fire, so no getting to it right away. I get all the way over to the other side, avoiding the gaze of the goblins. There's some palm trees over there, with coconuts hanging from them. I shake one loose, and haul it back across the way. There's a hole under a large boulder with a snake at the bottom. I drop the coconut down the hole. I bonks the snake, who slithers out of it's den, scaring off the goblin chef who's been working on a pot of stew. He drops his ladle. I pick up a mushroom that will induce sleep, and take it down to the pot. Dropping it in, I then ring Wiki at the snake, who turns into a grabber, just like the last one. I use the grabber to get the ladle. Since I saw the goblin chef summon his friends with it by hitting the gong, I do the same thing. I skitter up a nearby vine while the goblins come running for dinner. They partake of the drugged stew, and quickly fall asleep. I pick up their leader's flute and use it to play a tune that extinguishes the fire surrounding the treasure chest. And another piece of the legendary pirate is recovered!
The next challenge appears to involve fishing, waterslides, and frog bombs. Hmm, interesting. But unfortunately, my hour is just about up, so I won't go into further detail on the third stage I face. Suffice to say, it looks like a good, puzzling challenge!

And that's it for the first 60 minutes of Zack & Wiki. I hope you enjoy joining me on the treasure hunt. I wonder what the future holds for our pair of pirating heroes? What will happen when they put Barbaros back together? Where did the Rose Rock pirates get to? What connection does Wiki have to Barbaros, if any? These question, and more, will be answered as I play (well, hopefully!).

I thank you for joining me this time. Tune in next week for another addition of this blog. I wonder what game I'll play then? Who knows! I'm thinking I might go back to something older, like a PS2-era game, maybe a N64 game. Let's see what happens! Any suggestions? If so, please let me know if there's anything you'd like to see.
Also, I'm trying to look into making banners, or something to spice up this thing. Also, a couple more sections at the end. Still a work in progress, but keep an eye out! See you all next time! WOOHOO!!

One Hour In -- Episode #7

Uh oh, what's this? Looks like I didn't get any new games played for this blog in the past couple of weeks! Yikes. I won't bandy about excuses, but I will say I've been super busy and just didn't get around to sitting down with a good game and laying out it's first hour like I usually do with this. So, what have I been doing? Well, that's a whole 'nother story...

The Weeks in Review

PSN Implodes, World Still Intact

So, as everyone knows, PSN crashed and burned. Or, well, not quite, I guess it got shut off by Sony themselves to prevent some bad stuff from going down. Although it sucks, look on the bright side, if you use a PS3, you'll get PS+ and some other stuff for free! Some people will say it's not enough, some will be happy with the compensation, and some won't care because "X-Box360, LOL!!" As for me, I'll just be glad to be able to get back online soon.

Pokémon Still Holds

So, I can say with much confidence that Pokémon is still as captivating now as it was back in the day when it first came out. Sure, it looks prettier, and not too too much has really changed, but it's still got the allure. I've just clocked my 70th hour in Black, and hoo buddy, I don't see any signs of slowing down. Just the quest to level up my creatures so I can try and face the Elite Four again is fun. Not to mention all the extra things there are to do since the Global Link opened up. Looks like I'll be spending quite a bit more time with this game. And also with White, since I got it too. (yes, I know, durr!)

The Summer Creeps Up

Wait, so it's already May?! Wow! I can remember a time when the coming months would usually be devoid of the "big name" games we usually saw in the winter months. My, how times have changed. Just this month we've got the likes of Brink, L.A. Noire, Motorstorm 3, LEGO Pirates, DiRT 3, The Witcher 2, and who knows how many downloadable games. Of course, June will be killer too, DNF and inFamous 2 being the two I'm looking forward too. (yeah, I still like Duke Nukem, so sue me) The point I'm getting at is, there's no need to complain that you've got nothing to play, seeing as there's plenty on the way. And hey, I bet there's a lot you didn't get to from last year or earlier this year. So, have fun, you've got enough to keep you occupied until Uncharted 3 and Skyrim this November!

The Quest for SNES Games

My current gaming philosophy regarding my older, now completed games is, "keep 'em all!" That's right, no matter what, I keep my games. I don't go trading them in toward the new shiny ones in the store. (hey, if you do, good on ya. I won't put you down for it, because I know how money can be tight sometimes) The thing is, I didn't always possess this mindset. The moment I saw that new N64 in Nintendo Power, I knew I'd have to sell off my SNES and all it's games to get that new box. And so, that's what happened. Now, years later, I kinda regretted that. So, I went on the hunt. I scored a SNES fairly easily on eBay, with a couple games. When I got that package in the mail, tore it open and saw that wonderful grey box, I knew what I had to do. And so, I'm going on the hunt for old SNES games. Will I play them? Probably not, but I'm sure they'll look nice on my shelf. I hope the flea market, various garage sales, and of course, eBay provide a bounty of carts, so I can further my collection. And hey, who knows, maybe I'll try to get more old consoles in the near future. Because, hey, who doesn't want to play Sonic CD?

The Move to a TV-less Household

Well, I finally did it. I dropped my DirecTV service in favor of the cheaper alternatives of Hulu and Netflix. The only problem was, I had to talk to an actual human being to get my service canceled. Ugh... what a royal pain in the behind! For something that should take less than five minutes, I was on the phone for almost twenty. A good chunck of that was speaking with a gentlement who refused to believe that I wanted my TV service no more. I finally had to just tell him flat out, that if he didn't stop, I'd never want DirecTV ever again. That got him to quiet down, and I finally got to finish my cancellation. Thank goodness that's over. All that's left is for me to get the box to send them their equipment back. *Whew!* What would be so wrong with having an automated system for that, huh?

That's All Folks

Well, I want to apologize for my lack of any substantial update this go. I just had some hectic times the past couple weeks and blew it on my end. I really do hope that everyone who bothers to read these is enjoying my ranting/information on the games I'm playing. I do promise to try and get in some play time with a new title in the new few days so I can keep my regularly scheduled installments coming to you. For now, thanks for putting up with me this time, and I hope you come back next week for a real One Hour In blog post. Until then, dear Bombers!
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