Stuff!

Hi all, we’ve been having some behind the scenes server issues so updates haven’t come fast and furious (no not that wordpress thing)…

 

Anyway, some good deals are out there if you would like to fill your cart:

Super Mega Baseball isn’t on sale but it is cross buy for PS3 & PS4 and only $19.99
NBA Live 15 Xbox One is 35% off ($38.99 for XBox Live Gold subscribers)
PES 2015 Xbox One is $40.19 (same deal)
Power Star Golf (Xbox One) is $10 (again)
The Golf Club (PS4) is $20.99

That should keep you busy…./

Ralph Baer, RIP

On top of a Revs loss (LA Grrr, Extra Time grr…Revs are first to five in MLS Cup losses GRRR), the other sad news I heard today was the death of Ralph Baer. He was the inventor of the world first video game console and lived close by — less than an hour away.

The last time I spoke with him was back in July of this year and he shared with me some behind the scenes detail of a console I owned, the Odyssey 400 system. It was really great stuff – for example Magnavox had TI (Texas Instruments) make the chips for them.

You wouldn’t know from an email he was in his early 90s, He always had told me to come by and see some of his protoypes. Never had the time unfortunately. Thanks for the memories and the video games, Ralph!

Monday thoughts

Now that all the good games have been released we have some gaming to do! Or maybe I just have some downloading to do. The amount of downloads for games are insane and really don’t take into consideration bandwidth caps that many people have in the US — and don’t get me started about Canada because they are even more restrictive.

I want to give kudos to our friends who made Your Turn Football and now Tap Sports Baseball, as according to Glu Games recent financials, recorded $1.7 million in revenue since launch. Not bad…and one of the few games I continue to play on my iPhone!

Happy Monday!

91 miles with my grandpa

It took me 29 days, from the day he passed away, but I was able to run 91 miles, 1 for each year of my grandfather’s life.

Previously, I mentioned that I had not seen much of my grandfather over the last few years of his life, but during this last month I felt more connected to him than at any time than I could recall during my life.  I spent a lot of time thinking about him, the times that I had spent with him, and the fact that I will carry his name for the rest of my life.

I thought about the upcoming Brewers season and thought about the fact that even though we never went to any games together, that I will be taking part of him with me to every game I attend. I thought about how even though he had lost his legs in the last few years of his life, that it didn’t stop him.

My regret is that I just wish that it didn’t take his passing for me to realize that he has always, and will always, be a part of my life.

I know that I’ll keep running with him in the future, smiling while I think of him, and knowing that each step I take will be a bit easier because he is there with me.

Thank you for being a part of my life grandpa.  You’ll always be in my legs, my mind, and my heart.

WWE2K15 impressions (PS4)

When I was in the 10th grade I got really into WWF wrestling.  Being the pasty, and acne laden, young lad that I was, and seeing that people’s of the female persuasion were avoiding me quite adeptly, I needed something to occupy my time outside of my usual video game passions and so wrestling became that vice.

It was something that really only grabbed my attention for about 5 or 6 months, but I loved every minute of the matches that I caught on Fox 47 every Saturday or via video tape rentals from Woodman’s grocery store.  Along with that, I spent a good deal of time playing Pro Wrestling for the NES and started to find that this a sport/game that could be a tremendous amount of fun to play.

Sadly, not many wrestling games could live up to the greatness of Pro Wrestling for a long time until I found WCW/nWo Revenge for the Nintendo 64 and I became enamored with the sport again for a spell.  Revenge had an absolutely wonderful control system and the matches were tactical and entertaining to play, and the multiplayer on the system was chaotic and exciting every time.

For the last few years, I’ve dabbled with wrestling games trying to find that one that would draw me back again, and while last years WWE2K14 came close due to the vast amount of historical content that you could play through, this years version of the game just doesn’t quite do enough for me either.

In my initial time with the game, there are definitely some fun elements to the game, but there are also some pretty frustrating components that prevent me from saying that this is a game that you should run out and purchase.

Let’s start with the My Career mode.  Once you have designed your wrestler, you are dropped into a tryout for the NXT, and even though I lost my first match I was still signed over the, vastly superior, CPU opponent who thoroughly dominated me in every way.  Once you are signed you are sent to the WWE Performance Center to work on working on your skills, but even though you would think it would be more of a tutorial, they give you almost no feedback about how to get better at the game in these training matches.  A brief explanation is given to the new “chain wrestling” mini-game, but beyond that, you’re kind of thrown into the game play without any real instruction as to how to pull off any specific attacks or special abilities even though certain matches report that they will give you bonuses for aerial attacks and such, but without any way of knowing how to do the special moves you have to press buttons at random until you can try to figure out what you are trying to do.  The game could really use a true training gym feature where you could go against a defenseless CPU to get acclimated to the game controls and button configurations, but perhaps that feature will come up next year.

Along with those issues, there is no in game manual, but there is a “manual” section of the options, which when selected gives you a url for the WWE2K15 website.  I appreciate them saving the paper and not printing out an actual manual along with the game, but having a small menu where it showed you button configurations would have been a nice touch.

As for the good in the game, I have enjoyed playing with the 2K showcase where you have a chance to play through two story arcs from the recent past (CM Punk vs. John Cena and Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels.)  While the story segments are fun and you are rewarded with unlockables by mirroring certain segments of the actual matches, it is disappointing to only have 2 story lines presented with the retail version of the game, and to get more stories, you have to pick up the season pass (which unlocks 3 additional showcase segments.)   Also, if you manage to lose any of the matches in the Showcase, which can easily happen if you’re trying to accomplish all of the unlockables, you are subjected to virtually the same commentary over and over for the matches with very little variation.  Again, the mode is fun, but it has some issues that just prevent it from being great.

Speaking of the commentary, even though the game touts that the commentary has been improved, you will still hear a great deal of the repetition from the Jerry “The King” Lawler and WWE announcer, Michael Cole.  This is something that 2K has struggled with in both their WWE and NBA titles and I’m not sure what they can do to make it feel more organic, but it is definitely not a plus for the game.

If you want to know the best feature of the game, it has to be the customization capabilities that are included.  You can modify almost every single element of the WWE universe, from who holds what championship belts to the complete modification of the broadcast calendar for the next year, and along with that, you can adjust sliders for just about every aspect of the matches as well.  If you struggle with the reversal timing elements, there is a slider for that.  If you think that the AI is too good at reversing foreign object attacks, you can adjust those rates.  Want to make the wrestlers bleed when severely injured? Done!  Nearly every aspect of the game can be customized to your own personal preferences and that is a huge plus.

Along with that there is a very rich character creation suite that allows you to modify everything from the words written on your headwear to the placement of various tattoos on your body.  Different outfits, masks, arm and legwear are all available and allow for you to create a very diverse and different wrestlers, which allows you to really personalize the game to make it feel like it is “your WWE.”

To paraphrase a line from an NBC sitcom intro song, “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and then you have WWE2K15.”  This is a game with a balance of good and bad elements, but based on my time, I would only be able to recommend the game as a rental.

Now I just have to wait for the moving truck to get here so I can dig out my copy of WCW/nWo and make Sting’s head bleed.

Quick Wednesday notes

Hello again, all.

– Things are finally proceeding on the family front and, if everything goes to plan, they will be moving down here by the end of the month.

It’s been incredibly hard to be alone for this much time (with some flights home every few weeks) and I’ll be very glad to have the company.  You can only talk to yourself for so long before you start to run out of things to say.

When this process started, I thought it would be like when I was single before my wife and I moved in together, but after living with someone for 18 years, I can safely say that it’s pretty hard to go back to being alone.

Once the family is here, I’ll post a bit more about my last few months, but for now, I’m just trying to not to jinx the house selling process.

– By the end of the week, I should have my thoughts on Football Manager 15 on the site  along with some early impressions of Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 for the PS4.

– It seems like site issues are beginning to stabilize, but we are continuing to see brute force attacks on the site for whatever reason.  Hopefully they will go away in time, but it seems like this is just part of running a WordPress site.

– Lastly, through 20 days I’ve run 71 miles.  The last 20 will be a bit more interesting as I’ve got some pretty good blisters on my feet, some pretty good hip and knee stiffness, and I’ve lost 2 toenails.  Without a doubt this is the most I’ve ever run in such a short period of time, culminating with last week where I ran almost 30 miles in 4 runs.  I have to say that it has been very rewarding and has given me a lot of time to think about my grandfather and because of that, it has all been worth it.

 

Thursday notes

Just a quick post to let you know that I’m still alive.

Still dealing with some issues with getting our house in Wisconsin sold, but we look to be very close to having the family back together again.

Outside of that, I’ll be posting my impressions of Football Manager 2015, which releases tomorrow, at some point in the next week.

Lastly, the funeral for my grandfather was a difficult time but I thank all of you who sent notes to me for your concern.  I greatly appreciated all of your kind thoughts and words.

Talk to you all again soon.

Eulogy

My grandfather, William J. Haag, passed away at the age of 91 on Tuesday, October 21st.

Bill, as he was known to almost everyone, was a wonderful man and the world is a better place for having had him in it.  I will always remember him as a kind man and a person who was always happy to sit with me (no matter what age I was) and talk about the Brewers.

Over the last few years, I did not spend as much time with him as I would have liked to or should have.  I don’t believe that I am alone in the fact that I have a hard time dealing with age and have a hard time seeing people as they become less and less healthy.  It is selfish of me, but I like to remember people at their best, so it becomes harder for me to spend time with people as they become less healthy in the later years of their lives.  I am sorry that I didn’t see him more in the past few years and months, of that I am certain, but it is something that I have to live with.

Bill was the only grandfather that I knew during my life, as my mother’s father passed away when I was less than a year old and I never got a chance to really know him, so as I was growing up, everything that I knew about what a grandfather should be was because of him, and it’s safe to say that I believe he was teaching me all of the right things about what kind of man to be once you have grandchildren of your own.

Being one of 36 grandchildren is a situation where you would think that you could be easily forgotten, but that was never the case with my grandfather.  Whenever I would see him and my grandmother, they knew what was going on with my family and loved spending time with us.

I never really know what to do when people pass away except to try and celebrate their lives and do something in honor of them.  So, I have decided that one of the things that I will do for (and with) my grandfather is to run 1 mile, over the next 30 days, for every year of his life.  I never ran with my grandfather, in fact I can’t recall ever even played a single sport with him, but now that he is gone, I want to take some time and think of him as much as I can and envision that he is running with me.

Today, I started by running 9+ miles (1 for every decade of his life,) and will keep running for (and with) grandpa for until I run 91 miles for him.  I am certain that grandpa would want me to keep doing the things that make me happy and right now, being out running and thinking of him, definitely does that.

I love you grandpa, and I’ll never forget you.

 

Friday TV notes

- There have been a few reasons for not being able to post much lately, but I’m holding back on detailing all of them for a few reasons.  I am still alive and kicking though, so there is that.

Today, I’ll focus on the massive amounts of TV watching being done at my new house as I’ve torn through season 1 of The Blacklist, season 1 of True Detective, and wactching the new season of The Flash, Arrow, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  (Spoiler free)

The Blacklist took a bit of time to get going, but Spader becomes pretty damn evil about midway though the season and it’s great stuff when he does.  (Season 1 is on Netflix for your binge watching pleasure.)

True Detective was incredible through the first 6 episodes and while the last two became a bit formulaic (in my opinion) and weren’t nearly as good, they were still enough to make for a great season, and the show is well worth tracking down on HBOGO, if you have it (or possibly available via their streaming service in 2015 when that comes online.)

The Flash’s premier episode was pretty damn fun and had a quality setup for the season, but the second episode left a lot to be desired and made Barry come across as a pretty big whiner and wimp.  Hoping for better as the season goes on.

Arrow has started off with a bang with a major character lineup change in the first episode, but I can only hope that this season will have as many geeky easter eggs as they had in last season (who didn’t love the Harley Quinn appearance?)

Lastly, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been pretty solid picking up from where they left off (post-Hydra) from last year.  I’m still not that bothered by the big-bad that they’ve cooked up for this year, but who knows, maybe he’ll surprise me as the season moves along.

– Your thoughts?  Shows that you’re watching or want to recommend?

Oh well..

As an Orioles fan, you kinda sorta got the feeling you were at a US-Mexico game at Foxboro in 1997 with 67,000 Mexican fans and 2,500 US fans. Everyone was pulling for the Royals, and with good reason. They have shown that “good guys” in this game can win.

How can you not like that group of guys? Very classy, well respected and made all the plays. It doesn’t mean having your team lose 4-0 won’t suck any less, but it sure beats losing a game to a kid who stole a ball for a home run and Yankees.

It’s too bad they couldn’t get to Game 5, because Chris Davis has to sit out opening day also.

Oh well, it was a great series, very tight games and really could have gone either way. I hope for the best for KC as either NL team can die as far as I’m concerned ;).

 

Deals!

Toys R Us has two sports games (limited selection) for $70 — that’s $35 each and the usual suspects are there NHL, FIFA, Madden and UFC. That’s all of them. It does NOT apply to NBA2K however.

Also has anyone tried The Golf Club yet on PC? I kinda like it. I love how you can create courses on your own. Not that I’ve tried it yet but it’s nice that it is there.

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