"Damn you JJWeatherman!" was one of the last things I heard before the last game of Halo 2 I would ever play over Xbox LIVE. It was the very early morning of April 15th and I was playing Halo 2... with Giant Bomb.
Last night (at the time of this writing) was freakin' amazing. As a lot of you know, The one and only Giant Bomb crew hosted what was dubbed as the "Xboxalypse". The original Xbox LIVE servers were planned to shut down at midnight, but apparently someone fell asleep behind the Microsoft curtain and was a tad late. That was A-OK with me though as it meant more opportunities to try to connect to the crew's Halo 2 sessions. It was pretty hilarious. I found myself trying to plan the lag on the live stream video perfectly so that I start searching for games at the same time as the guys. I ended up getting into four of their games if I remember right.
The first match I got the opportunity to play with the one and only Ryan Davis. Love ya Ryan, but your Halo skills are a bit rusty. :P Anyways that first game was a Rumble Pit match and I found myself going head to head against Sir Davis with Dave at his side. It's funny because it was the first game of theirs I tried to join and I got in instantly. I thought getting in all night would be easy but not so much. I got to play with a bunch of other guys trying to get into Ryan's games too though so it was still fun. So back to the first match. I totally won it. 25 kills and some sweat after the start, and I stood the winner. You guys have no idea how excited I was after that. I'm a complete nerd, I know. : )
After that I spent a several hours trying to get into matches with Drew (who had taken over shortly after my first match with Ryan). I got into a couple here and there. Got killed by David Ellis more than a few times too. Dude's tough. I honestly didn't expect that but hey, I give him props. Anyways, Ryan declared that they will play just one more match and then move on to Mech Assault. I thought I had to get into this match, so again I timed the entry just right and got grouped in with Drew again for what would be the last Halo 2 match I will ever play. It was on one of the DLC maps, can't remember the name exactly. It was a territories match though so I wasn't solely aiming to kill. But since Drew was on the opposite team, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't actively seeking him out the majority of the match. By the end of the match we had both killed each other a couple times, I had a splatter and a couple melee kills on him. (Take that Drew! :P). The last time I killed Drew though I ran up on him and smacked him in the face with my SMG, only to hear Ryan's voice coming from my PC shortly after muttering, "Damn you JJWeatherman!". Simply awesome.
Thanks so much to the Giant Bomb guys for doing this and giving the community a chance to put an end to LIVE with you. Even though things didn't exactly go as hoped due to Microsoft, it was an absolute blast.
As the NBA Playoffs inch closer and closer, I am feeling the need to talk about the Portland Trail Blazers more and more. If you don't like sports I recommend you get out of here while you still can.
I live in the Portland area and we all love the Blazers here. They are our only pro sports team after all. This will be the second season they have made it back to the playoffs after a troubling stretch a few years ago. Last year the Blazers were taken out in the first round by Houston. That was garbage. But that's the past, I have to focus on the future. This year the Blazers have a much more mature and improved team in comparison to last years. The team was hit with injuries early and very often this season but have been still fighting. The only players the Blazers will go into the playoffs without are the two original starting centers, Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla (AKA: Dolla Dolla Billa). Anyways as troubling as that should be, the Blazers have recently traded for Marcus Camby, former defensive player of the year, and he's a center. So that position is still covered as well as any other despite injuries. The team is of course lead by former rookie of the year and two time All-Star Brandon Roy who gets all the media attention. The team is as deep as the ocean though with players like LaMarcus Aldrige, Andre Miller, Nicolas Batum, and Rudy Fernandez backing Roy up.
Playoff matchups still aren't anywhere close to being decided due to an extremely tight group of teams record-wise in the west. If you win a few games out west, a team could move up two or three seeds easily. Currently the Blazers are set to play the Lakers though if the season ended now. Some people may think the Lakers would win this matchup easily but the Blazers have actually beaten the Lakers 8 of the last 9 times they played them at home. That last time when they lost, Brandon Roy was not playing due to injury. So anyways even if the Blazers end up playing the Lakers, I have faith we will at least put up a good brawl against those Fakers. :P
I'll probably write a few more blogs about my near and dear Blazers as the playoffs come closer and inevitably start up. I'm really hoping to make it out of the first round this year. Maybe that would get the team some more national recognition... maybe.
Here's some sweet Blazers pictures. Playoff time is almost here!
Everyone's excited about the new series of Endurance Runs and for good reason. Freakin' double the action! I'm having a hard time choosing exactly how I will watch this "season" though. Initially I thought of course I would watch both VJ's and BR's Runs as they are released. I have now done this for two days and am thinking of maybe changing it up. I'm considering choosing one Endurance Run to follow until finished, and then watch the other. There's a couple problems with this though. First problem is I have a burning desire to watch every piece of video content GB puts up, so it may kill me trying to hold off on the other Run happening at the same time. Problem two is actually choosing which to watch if I go this route. So I'm going to break down a little of what I saw the first two days and hopefully this will help me decide.
Starting with Vinny and Jeff (VJ). These two obviously have been here before and experienced an Endurance Run (ER). I felt like the first episode didn't reflect this nearly as much as the second VJ episode. It took a little bit to get back into it but team VJ are back to their hilarious do-what-they-want ways. Day one just seemed like they were trying a little hard, but now they seem more relaxed and into it. However Vinny behind the wheel can be a little slow sometimes. I love ya Vinny but you gotta shoot those guys in the head! Anyways team VJ are always making lots of jokes and observations that are always somewhere between slightly funny and hilarious. I feel like they will continue to get better as the game goes on.
Now for team BR. They are obviously the new kids on the ER block. Brad and Ryan left a really good impression after day one. I actually was considering exclusively watching the BR ER after day one and saving the VJ ER for after. I decided to give both a try again on day two and I found the roles to be reversed. As I stated earlier, the VJ run seems to be developing nicely and becoming more comfortable and funny as time goes on. Sadly day two of BR was more of a step back. I still liked some of the jokes and I definitely like Brad behind the wheel a little more. But there was just a lot of instances where Brad would seem unwilling to just enjoy the game. Brad and Ryan just seem to have a "Lets just get through this" attitude to the game while team VJ seem to be enjoying it more.
Despite the seemingly one sided fight leaning toward team VJ here, I'm still undecided. I really like team VJ's jokes and overall style. But at the same time team BR are new and fresh. Also I have a slight preference to watching Brad play a game. Part of that is the hope that he will die I'm sure. :P I'm going to sit here and reflect on what I have written for approximately 30 seconds and then make a decision...
As I was sitting here reflecting for about 30 seconds, all that I could think of was Jeff's comments on how York smokes like Andrew Dice Clay. That speaks to me as strongly as York's coffee speaks to him. I must watch the Vinny and Jeff Endurance Run. OK, yes, I'll watch the team VJ ER exclusively from now on and then watch BR after VJ's is over. Oh god what have I done? The second video sitting there staring at me every day is going to be a true test of endurance by not watching it. Sorry team BR, I will for sure watch your videos eventually though. I just want to do things this way for some reason that I still don't fully understand.
I recently downloaded some freeware that is useful for making animated gifs and I have already made a couple cool ones. Since I haven't blogged about anything else recently, I figured I would share these. I want to make some more, but sadly I am lacking ideas. If anyone has a suggestion for something that would be funny or cool, then by all means share. Anyways, here's what I've got:
Don't you just hate it when the title of a blog tells you absolutely nothing about the actual contents of said blog? I know I do. But I'm also a hypocrite.
Well I finally went to see Avatar a few days ago so I want to talk about it while my mind can still remember the majority of the film. I'm not gonna pretend to review this because I'm no film critic and lets be honest, that would probably end up more boring anyways. I'm just going to type whatever comes to mind and hope it's not too crazy when I'm done.
Avatar. To be, or not to be. But no really, I thought Avatar was awesome on a technical level. I actually got to see it in 3D and I'm sure that had a lot to do with it. But it really is some amazing work that they were able to pull off in the film. The alien bros all looked like they could be real. There were some times when the 3d aspect hurt the movie though. I noticed a lot of blur during any parts with a character quickly running across screen or really any kind of quick movements. It is not usually an issue but i took my glasses off for a second and it really hit me how bad the picture was blurring during with quick motions. But overall the 3d added more than it detracted so it was all good. 2 Comments
Just right off the bat, no I won't be discussing anything related to Jersey Shore this evening. Now that half of the potential readers have been filtered out, down to business. :P
I want to talk some about achievements. I also want to say something about all the community crap going on recently, but I'll keep that short and save it for the end.
So achievements are in my opinion one of the single greatest innovations in recent gaming. After Microsoft established them, Sony then went on to duplicate the experience. I'm not complaining because even though trophies are an obvious rip of achievements, it adds to the Playstation experience, and that's not a bad thing. I can't explain my need for achievements, it's just a thing to do I guess. I think anyone reading this probably understands.
So as I was exploring some of the sites new features in the latest code push, I found myself re-exploring some of the sites more seasoned features that have been mostly forgotten by myself lately. I rediscovered the greatness of the achievement tracking system in particular. The various sorting options, graphs, rarity coding, and game ranks are all awesome and I think they should be appreciated more. I decided I wanted to find the rarest achievements I have ever unlocked and with a couple clicks, bam they're right there for my viewing pleasure.
My #1 rarest achievement is something of an ironic one. It's from a game I have grown to despise. That game is Guitar Hero 3. I think the reasons I have come to despise the series are probably clear, I don't want to get into that anyways. But the achievement is "Streak Masters" which requires the player to sustain a note streak until you hit 2,000. There are only roughly 105 people that have this achievement on the entire site. That seems odd to me, achieving a 2,000 note streak really isn't even that hard when playing with another person (which I assume is how I got it). It's actually pretty funny because I think my top 5 rarest achievements are all for GH3.
I guess the points I want to get across are: 1. The Guitar Hero series is now garbage thanks to Activision and Neversoft. and 2. Giant Bomb has some awesome features that shouldn't be forgotten.
I encourage all of you dear readers to sort your achievements by rarity and see if you have an achievement that less then 100 people on the site have obtained. There's tons of other stuff to check out too. I don't know why I had to point all this out. I guess since I had forgotten, I figured a lot of you guys may have too. So yeah, achievements are still cool.
I have one last thing to say about people leaving the site and all the controversy going on between the community. I probably should just avoid comment on this but hey, I'm a part of the community and I have an opinion. Therefore I command you to read my views... if you feel like it. :P
I think that what people were saying in a couple select threads was first of all pretty rude and secondly really immature. Users shouldn't be bashing other users for no good reason like that. If some people have a heavy preference towards the staffs content, that's fine. Those people don't need to put others down though and basically call them--and any content they produce--useless, boring, etc. It's really rude. There's no need to act so immature. On the other side though are the people that take this stuff way too seriously. Those rude people may be immature but I think anyone that wants to up and leave the site entirely after such a minor squabble are just as immature. I posted something similar in someone elses blog earlier but basically how I feel is that you can't just run away from adversity. If you try, you will be running your whole life. Anyone who was truly offended by things said by others need to grow up and realize that most of the people probably didn't fully mean what they said. People like to talk on the internet, that's a fact. Some people just talk for the sake of talking and they shouldn't be listened to. Well this is going on longer than I wanted it to (as expected). I guess what I'm trying to get this community to realize is how childish and "high school drama-ish" this whole situation seems. Lets try to not take everything in the forums so seriously. Laugh it off. This is a video game website after all!
I've wanted to write a quick blog about my new and improved Rock Band drums since I got them. Sadly, I have been delayed, until now. I finally got some decent pictures taken a little while ago so I figured now is a good time to write something.
A couple of my Christmas gifts this year were 2 awesome cymbals to go with my ION Drum Rocker. I decided to go for the Pintech cymbals after seeing David_Shek's recommendation of them on Rock Band's forums. They were a little expensive, but hey I didn't have to pay for them. I got one 10" cymbal that I use for my hi-hat and I think a 14"--maybe 12", can't remember--to be used as a ride. I had one original ION cymbal that always worked really well and is responsive so I'm using that for a crash.
The way Rock Band likes to chart though, forces the ride to be between the crash and hi-hat because of open hi-hat notes. They often chart open hi-hat notes to blue. So that prevented me from placing the Crash towards the middle of the kit and keeping the ride all of the way over on my right side due to the quick changes between yellow and blue. Anyways, all this rambling probably makes no sense so I'll just go ahead and post the pictures I have. I think this should better explain my setup:
I have actually moved my Ride over to the left slightly because it is still hard to get between the hi-hat and ride quickly. By the way, the yellow cap there on the ride isn't accurate. It's really blue, I just lost my blue cap thingy. More pics:
Damn, my pads look beaten in this pic. I got them used from my friend so I'm not the culprit here. You can kind of see the angles that I have my two toms here. It's actually a little steep and I'm thinking of changing it soon but it's currently the same as it is here in the pic. Moving on:
This is obviously my pedal. It's pretty good, a lot better than the other one you can see there in the background. That ION stock pedal is actually pretty crappy. It holds up well I guess. Anyways this new pedal is just as easily pressed as the stock ION pedal without all the noise and sticking. There does seem to be a different timing to this pedal though that I had to get used to. Once I did though, all is well in Rock Band Land. Continuing:
If you have never tried playing Rock Band drums with headphones, I couldn't recommend it more. There are some drawbacks such as not being able to wear a mic while online and not being able to hear friends you may be playing with. But at the end of the day the experience is so much better in my opinion given the right conditions. By the way these are Sennheiser EH-250's. Not the best noise canceling but they are closed back and have great bass. They are also light weight which is great. They get the job done nicely.
Well I think that's all I have to say. I want to go out with a bonus picture though... of muh kitty cat.
I finally got to go to my first Blazer game of the season last night. It's always exciting going to watch the Blazers in the Rose Garden Arena. The fans here really have no other major sports teams to root for, so pretty much everyone supports the Blazers. The game I was at last night was the 90th consecutive sell out at the Rose Garden, and that goes back to last season. that's a pretty clear sign of the support for this team even without the appearance of several of the Blazers star players who are out for long periods of time due to a laundry list of injuries.This has to be the absolute worst season injury-wise I have ever experienced. Let me try to remember exactly how it happened.
The very first injuries came in preseason. After drafting Jeff Pendergraph, and Australian Olympic point guard Patrick Mills, they both went down from hip surgery, and a broken foot respectively. Each was expected out a month or two and are actually both back as of a few games ago. Anyways, next to go was our starting small forward Nicolas Batum out of France. I love Nic so it was tough seeing him have shoulder surgery just a couple days before the season opener. He is yet to return. A good couple weeks into the season our sixth man, and top scorer off the bench Travis Outlaw had the first of many freak incidents. During a game he simply planted his foot to change directions and broke a bone in his foot. Out for several months, yet to return. Next up I think was Greg Oden. It's hard to keep track of exactly the order these all happened. But Greg's injury was another freak accident. Basically he planted his feet to rise up for a block, and his knee cap fractured and dislocated. This was probably the freakiest of the injuries because it didn't look like anything happened. All Greg did was plant his feet and jump, yet somehow his knee was stressed or something. This has been the worst injury of the season, both because he is an important piece to the Blazers on both the defensive and offensive end, and because he is out for the remainder of the season. At this point I thought the worst had to be over. How could it get worse than this? Well that question was answered. Our backup center Joel Przybilla that was really our only big body left, went down in a similar fashion to Greg Oden. His was diagnosed with a ruptured patella tendon and a dislocated patella. He is out for the season, and at his age this could potentially be a career ending injury. I hope it isn't but it's a possibility. Moving along, a couple weeks later Rudy Fernandez--another big time scorer off the bench--began having back problems. He is yet to return. Besides those relatively major injuries, Steve Blake is currently out after being hospitalized with pneumonia. Branden Roy, the leader of the Blazers is playing with a tweaked shoulder. And last but not least, LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers starting power forward, has a nagging ankle tweak that has caused him to miss a few games this season.
Here's a slightly out of date recap:
Wow. I thought that injury list would never end. Anyways despite all those terrible problems, the Blazers are still winning games. I don't know how they are doing it but they have won several tough match-ups after our key players have gone down. I don't know how long they can keep this up but it's nice while it lasts. Whatever happens, Brandon Roy has to stay healthy. If he does he will make the All-Star team again this year for the third consecutive time. the only year Brandon didn't make the All-Star game was his rookie year, which in place he won the rookie of the year award, so I think he's just fine with that.
Anyways, back to the game I got to go to. It wasn't great. The Blazers lost it but put up a good fight right up until the end. It's OK that we lost though because every time the Blazers score 100 points or more, everyone at the game gets a free chalupa from Taco Bell. So yeah, got myself one of those. Oh, hey. Another weird thing that happened that was totally awesome: Doug E Fresh was totally there. He even got on the mic and did some beat-boxing. That was pretty awesome. It was kinda sad though because the game started up again while he was in the middle of beat-boxing and they cut him off. But dude! Doug E Fresh!
Well this turned out to be more of a Blazers injury report than a blog about the game I saw. But since we lost, I would rather not talk about it. I shot a video of Doug E Fresh on my phone but you can't really hear anything so it's pretty useless. Crap, I have to tie this into video games somehow... uhhh, I'm gonna go play as the Blazers in NBA 2K10. Maybe there I can force the team into a win. :P
As stated in a previous status update by yours truly: "I have an addiction... to Assassins Creed 2".
Very few games manage to get me to actually want to collect every last hidden collectible--whatever they may be--in a game. Assassins Creed 2 really is one of those games. There have actually been three games this year that have done this to me. The first being Resident Evil 5. I was completely obsessed with upgrading every weapon and getting infinite ammo for every gun that I actually use. I played that game non-stop. Then came Shadow Complex which awakened this urge in me yet again to collect every single thing possible. Of course this is a situation that is a lot easier to find your self in when it comes to Shadow Complex. Basically because every item is listed with a question mark before you find it, so you really can't unintentionally miss anything. So I thought that two games that brought out this OCD-type nature in me was already a lot for the year. Then I played Assassins Creed 2.
Right off the bat I wasn't expecting to be pulled into this game the same way I was with Resident Evil 5 and Shadow Complex. If anyone doesn't know, you start off the game as more or less a regular guy. It takes a little bit before you get to truly become an assassin. So I was kinda just expecting the same types of things that you could collect in the original Assassins Creed. A few flags around the city or something similar was all I was really expecting as far as collectibles go. Man was I surprised when I found out that not only were there feathers--that basically have taken the place of flags--but also an entire myriad of other much cooler and interesting things to collect.
With each new kind of collectible item that was introduced, I had somewhat mixed feelings at first. I initially thought collecting all these different things sounded really interesting in what could possibly come out of them, but it seemed like an impossible chore to actually go out and find everything. After putting a considerable number of hours into the game, I can indeed confirm that it is in fact a chore, but is somehow done in the best possible way. I'm constantly finding myself purposely avoiding story missions in order to collect everything I can as soon as possible. I think it's a sickness. From what I can tell, I think Vinny has this sickness as well. :P
Anyways, I don't want to go on too long about stupid collectibles. But there is one specific "collectible" that is peticularly interesting though. I think most people know about it, but it's basically a series of like twenty or so glyphs on certain notable structures throughout the game. These really have me hooked on finding them at the moment. I have diverted all resources lately in the game to finding these so that I can hopefully make some sense of the video fragments you eventually recieve after finding them. The puzzles you are forced to do before you get the videos are pretty awesome so far as well. They are pretty clever and usually contain some incredibly interesting--although mostly fictional--information about historical things like the assassination of JFK for example.
So, yep. I felt like telling the world about my obsession with Assassins Creed 2 and more specifically the collection aspect of it. It's a great bunch of additions to the overall story line that I hope will pay off in a big way once I start to complete some of the collections. How bad do you fellow Giant Bomb community members have this OCD nature to collect everything possible in certain games? All I know is, I have the fever, and the only prescription... is more Assassin's Creed 2! (In addition to cowbell of course)