Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guitar Hero World Tour

Still busy playing Dead Space but my pre-order for Guitar Hero World Tour has come in.  Now, Rock Band has become my go-to music game of choice so Guitar Hero really has to innovate to pull me from RB but here's hoping.  In the meantime, here's a commercial for GHWT starring Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Tony Hawk and Michael Phelps.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Official 9th Annual HTF October Scary Movie Challenge

I've been taking part in the Home Theater Forum's annual October Scary Movie Challenge since 2003.  With the exception of last year, which I didn't participate in, I've done just ok and have to admit that I'm not the movie fiend I used to be.  The rules are pretty simple:  watch as many horror movies (tv shows are excluded) as you can in the month, list them on the forum and maybe even write a few words about them.   When I first heard of it, I though... eh, why not.  Although geeky by nature, it was a fun way to interact and discuss with other forum members who share a common love of horror movies.  What I really like about it is that, by reading what others have been watching, I'm introduced to some movies that I haven't heard of before with the intention of someday getting around to watching said movie(s).   So every year, a group of members stock pile a bunch of horror movies to watch during the month.  The goal is to watch a minimum of 13 (unlucky, get it?) movies either theatrically, on cable/satellite or any form of dvd.  Averaging 1 per day gets you into the exclusive "Splatterhead" club.  I've only cracked 31 once but have managed at least 13 every year that I've participated.

Last October was an unusually busy one for me with a handful of some great new tv shows that I got hooked into in addition to the favorite returning ones.  On top of that, September through November is usually when the best games are released so, being an avid gamer, I was consumed with some great games.  This year, I'm not doing so well as, again, I'm being consumed with great tv shows and games that are too good to put down.  With just 2 more days until the end of the month, I'm still 4 short of my goal.  Let's see how it goes.

I'll post a follow-up this weekend.

Turtle Beach X3 Wireless Gaming Headphones

I picked up the X3 today after reading some online reviews and a resounding recommendation from fellow LCVGer Joey.  The X3 is replacing the Xbox 360 Wireless Headset which was a very good headset but died a very mysterious death.  I've had the headset about a year and never had any issues with it other than an occasional annoying buzz sound within the first few months of purchase which was eliminated upon an update sent my Microsoft.  

One day, can't remember when, I plugged the headset in to charge to have it ready for my next online adventure.  That was the last time the headset was operational as it never turned on after that.  Normally, that wouldn't deter me from picking up another since I was quite fond of my wireless friend but since it had happened three times to my godson Brian, I decided that once was enough for me.  For the next few months, I used an old wired Nokia headset while I looked online for a replacement.  It worked but the quality and convenience wasn't the same.  I had seen the X3 mentioned around but thought the $100 price tag to be quite steep.  Well, after reading many positive reviews online, I finally took the leap.  I'll return with some opinions on the headset after putting a few hours into it this weekend.  In the meantime, here's one of the reviews I read online that finally sold me on the product.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Currently playing: Dead Space

Dead Space is a third-person survival horror-action game.  Set in the distant future, Dead Space revolves around Isaac Clarke, a space engineer who works for the Concordance Extraction Corporation (C.E.C.), a company that operates giant mining ships throughout the galaxy.  When the C.E.C. receives a distress call from the USG Ishimura, a "Planet Cracker"-class ship that destroys planets in order to extract valuable ore, Isaac and four other C.E.C. employees set out to rendezvous with the Ishimura in orbit, all the while assuming that a mechanical failure is the only problem.  At the same time, Isaac repeatedly watches a video sent to him by his girlfriend who is currently onboard the Ishimura, along with about one thousand other residents/workers. What Isaac and his crew find instead is a stricken mining ship infested with Necromorphs, a hostile virus with the ability to reanimate the bodies of the dead, turning them into grotesque monstrosities.   Source: Wikipedia

What I love about this game is how atmospheric it is.  I've played scary games before: Doom 3, the Resident Evil 4 and even BioShock had it's fair share of scare moments.  Dead Space has them all beat in the tense department. Being a fan of horror movies growing up, you would think that I wouldn't find a video game scary.  But what a game does better than a movie is that you're put in the situation where your every action (and reaction) is the determining factor in your survival.  I can watch a movie and get scared but mostly it's of the cheap variety.  In a game like Dead Space, I'm not watching as this character makes his way through the unknown but controlling him. I ask myself how many times I've watched a horror movie and said "I wouldn't go there if it was me" so when playing these games, you can actually choose to not take certain paths until you feel more readily capable of handling whatever situation may rise.  

This game is unique in that the character you play, Isaac Clarke, is not this super soldier with all the necessary firepower to handle the extreme conditions he's about to be thrown in.  No, Isaac Clarke is only an engineer assigned with task of repairing a mining ship.  So, guess what, all he has to defend himself with are mining repair tools.  Mind you, they get the job done but they're not your typical shotgun/rifle/rocket launcher variety.  

Another thing that is unique about this game is the combat.  Where most shooters are basically about getting the most powerful weapon and getting that "headshot" to take the enemy down.  In Dead Space, getting a headshot is about the worse thing you can do as all it will do is piss off the creatures.  "Strategic dismemberment" is the method used to achieve success in battling the Necromorphs.  Trying the conventional method will only have them adopt new stances and tactics, eventually sprouting new limbs and even giving birth to more creatures in the process.  The limbs need to be individually severed in order to have a chance at defeating them.  

I'm currently sitting in chapter 7, half way through the game and have had numerous "creep out" moments.  Playing late at night with the lights out and the 5.1 surround turned up is the only way to play this game.  

There are more games coming out between now and the end of the year but Dead Space, although not through with it yet, already has Game of the Year written all over it.

Available for the X-Box 360, Playstation 3 and PC, I can't recommend this game enough.

Cutting costs

In a move to help our economic situation, I no longer park my car in a private lot.  I'm now at the mercy of vandalism which I've experienced a few times before.  Also, I canceled my account with Storage Deluxe and have started to bring everything that I'll be keeping over to the apartment.  I gave my 10-day notice and will have everything out by Halloween.  Wow but we sure have alot of junk stored away.  

Eliminating the parking and storage will save us $300 a month.  :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Well, it's been a couple of hectic months with all the overtime I've been putting in but am happy it's over.  Lots to write about and am looking forward to sharing some thoughts with my friends.  Also want to thank those of you that helped Jeanette out with the 2008 Walk To Cure Cancer Charity.  Your help was appreciated.  :)

October is here and it can only mean one thing.... well, ok, two.  Halloween is almost upon us but more importantly, for us gamers, the top titles are releasing in time for the holidays so there seems to be a solid game coming out just about every week.  I already picked up and started Dead Space and am absolutely loving it.  I've been wanting a Doom-style game to hit the next-gen consoles and Dead Space is it.  Don't want to spoil it for those that want to play it but will get into it more at a later date.

Already pre-ordered are Guitar Hero: World Tour, Call Of Duty: World At War, Left 4 Dead, Gears Of War 2, Mirror's Edge, Scene It and Prince Of Persia.  Yes, I'll be doing alot of gaming in the weeks to come.  :)

Can anyone believe the Tampa Bay Rays?  Last I blogged, the Yanks were trying to stay close to the Red Sox while the Mets were sitting pretty in 1st place.  I stopped blogging and the baseball world stopped spinning on it's axis.  No need to recap how the season and play-offs turned out but the Rays are something special.  To say that all of NY would be pulling for them is an understatement.  Mets fans should want the Phillies to lose the Series while Yankees fans should want the Rays to win it all as a thank you for taking down the hated Sox, even if the Rays themselves are division rivals.  

Been trying to keep up with lots of TV and am really liking some of the new shows while old favorites (Shield, Smallville, Prison Break, Bones, House, Dexter, Entourage) and 2nd year offerings (Life, Dirty Sexy Money, Californication) are still holding my interest.  New to my TiVo season pass this year are True Blood, The Mentalist, Fringe and Sons Of Anarchy.  Can't say there's a bad show in the bunch.