I’m something of a clean freak and this extends into the computer and video game worlds as well. I don’t like having extra crap lying around, so every time I saw that unused “Player 2” gamer profile on my Xbox 360 it gnawed at me. Well, in a fit of cleanliness, I finally decided to nuke the damn thing, and deleted MY OWN profile instead…all of my save games, gone to binary heaven…FARK!!


So Much Fun It HURTS!

One aspect of video gaming that has never bothered me is repetition. After all, back in the early 80’s, that’s pretty much all we HAD. “Game Over” meant you ran out of ships or had to leave the arcade for some non-game related reason. I don’t mind doing the same thing over and over again as long as its fun, and if all I get at the end is a high score, I’m fine by that.

I think it’s also why I have never played any online RPGs for any extended period of time. I know that if I were to get hooked on a MMORPG I would probably never come out.

With arcades dead and gone, I feed my desire for arcade-style gaming goodness with Nintendo DS and Xbox Live Arcade games. Fortunately, they are relatively cheap and quite satisfying. Every now and then, though, I will come across a game that I just cannot stop playing until I am in some degree of pain. This is particularly true of the Nintendo DS; one hallmark of a good DS game (in my opinion) is that I can keep playing it and playing it until the stylus leaves a painful indentation in my thumb. Mental note: I need to take a picture of that the next time it happens.

The most extreme example of this was a game called Meteos. I’m a sucker for a good puzzle game, and Meteos was just the thing to burn away the hours while working the late shift at a call center a few years ago. If nobody was calling, I would be happily tapping away at my trusty red DS trying to beat my high scores. With a combination of a really good battery life, no supervisors present, and available plugs for my charger, I could easily spend most of my shift playing Meteos, followed by a sore thumb on my right hand.

This went on for a few weeks until I noticed some recurring pain in my left arm. It got to be quite a nuisance, so I went to see my doctor about it. He examined my arm, bent it this way and that, asked does this hurt, does that hurt, yadda yadda yadda. It turns out I had “tennis elbow” in my left arm. The same left arm I was using to hold up the DS (the ol’ fat DS, BTW) while playing Meteos all those hours. Heaven help me, I did not have the nerve to tell the doctor. A bottle of pain meds and a lot less Meteos later, and I was back to abnormal.

Elite Beat Agents also left its mark on me (literally!) and now I am in the grasp of Rock Band (playing the drums on Hard is a pretty decent workout) and 1942: Joint Strike whose button mashing madness has my right thumb in a world of hurt right now, but damn, its fun. My high score is already over a million, time to shoot for two!

-shakes hands around, blows on right thumb to cool it down-

Maybe later.


Rock Band – Opening Act

(continued from June 30)

So I had decided that I wanted Rock Band, but I also decided I didn’t want to fork out $170 for the whole kit and kaboodle. After all, I have a Guitar Hero 3 guitar that will work with the game, and I was 90% sure my Karaoke Revolution microphone would work. That just leaves (naturally) the most expensive part, being the drums…which are $80 on their own, and the game is $60, which at $140 is pretty darn close to the full price anyway! As popular as the game is, I figured a sale probably wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. I figured I’d have to save some change for a while.

As fate would have it, I had just received $15 in Best Buy Reward Zone certificates from a recent TV purchase, which knocks the price of the game down to $45! On a hunch, I browsed the some online stores for the drum kit, and lo and behold, Amazon had it on sale for $50 with FREE shipping, woo-hoo! Needless to say, paying $95 was MUCH better than $130

After nearly going insane waiting for the UPS guy a few days later, I had my drum kit, the mic worked perfectly, and simulated rock stardom was within my grasp!

All I needed now was a band.


Rock Band – Warming Up

I have been salivating over Rock Band since its release. As a fan of music-based games, the siren call of the Next Big Thing was one that was hard to resist. A few things kept me from acquiring the game for some time, though: the high price tag, reports of less-then-stellar instrument reliability, and a set list that was heavy on newer music kept me away from the party for some time.

Finally, I decided to rent Rock Band and see if it was worth my hard earned cash. I figured a play-through of the Solo career mode on guitar would give me a look at all the game’s songs. I could then make a decision based on how much the game rocked…or not.

As I detest Blockbuster, I decided to go to Hollywood Video first to see if they had it for rent. I quickly discovered that the two nearest Hollywood Video stores were shut down, and I had no desire to drive over to Leon Valley Speed Trap, Texas. I dug up my Ballbuster membership card out of the dresser (I knew there was a reason I didn’t cut it up) and hit the road. Much to my surprise, they had the PS2 version, and as I still have my trusty PS2 Guitar Hero SG controller, it was time to rock. Blockbuster still sucks, though.

Much to my surprise, I liked more of the current songs than I thought I was going to based on just looking at the track list (yeah, I know, ‘don’t judge a book’ yadda yadda yadda). I finished the game on Medium in guitar and tried singing a few songs in QuickPlay mode, and it was lots of fun. The diffculty was scaled back compared to previous Guitar Hero games, especially when compared to the Medium = Hard stuff going on in Guitar Hero III. The Medium diffculty on the singing also felt easier compared to the Medium difficulty of Karaoke Revolution. That may be attributed to the game’s focus on the various flavors of rock music, however.

So, at this point, I knew I was going to get the game, its just a matter of when…