Category Archives: Gaming

Friday notes (What I’m playing edition)

- Woohoo!  The site has been up for 2 days without crashing.  Gotta love memory leaks in applications that cause database crashes. Or something.

- Dan has been bugging me to pick up Sniper Elite 3 and I just wanted to put forth a script to summarize almost every conversation that I have with him.

(Enter Glen.  A man, who even as he is approaching middle age, is still dashingly handsome.)

(Enter Dan.  A very strange individual.)

Dan: Hey! You should buy <insert game that came out in the last week.>

Glen: Why should I buy it?

Dan: Because it new and it’s a game.

And scene!

Seriously, this happens almost every single week.  It doesn’t have to be new games either.  Last night he was telling me that I should buy Bases Loaded on WiiU, because I should.

I think that living inside Dan’s mind would be one of the scariest places in the history of the world to be.

- Having said all that, I did try out Sniper Elite v2 (due to the fact that Steam had the game for free a few months ago) and have found that while playing it on the easiest setting that it is quite good.  It is certainly incredibly violent, but it does let you do something like this.  My best to this point is 2 kills with one shot, but it is fun to try and line up those kinds of shots and then pull them off.

I can imagine that the new version of the game has improved some of the aspects of the controls and graphics, but I’m definitely enjoying this game for the $0 that I paid for it.

- Also on the playlist of late is Assassin’s Creed IV for the PS4 and what has been interesting for me is that, for the most part, I’m completely ignoring the story (except to unlock the capability to complete certain events) and just cruising around from island to island wrecking the Caribbean and blowing up forts with the big-ass cannons on my ship.

I have absolutely zero interest in the multiplayer side of the game, but boarding ships and killing random Spanish and British sailing crew has been a blast for me.

- With my Club Nintendo rewards points, (I have far too much Nintendo stuff, and am still pissed about missing out on the Mario Bros shoelaces that they offered in the past) I picked up Kid Icarus 3D for the 3DS.

I don’t know if I was some sort of gaming savant in my earlier days or if my skills have faded that much, but the game kicked my arse when I played it last night.

There seems to be a great deal of nostalgia about making games hard again and I feel that eventually we’re going to reach a point where someone will create a game that punches you in the face every time you make a mistake just to make it “hardcore.”

Having said that, there is still something to completing a massive achievement in a game.  I still remember the feeling that I got when I beat Mike Tyson in Punch Out (had to use the cheat code to face him, as I could never beat him after defeating everyone else in the game.)  There is just something special about the challenge that was in some of those old games, so I will stick with Kid Icarus for a while and see if I can find some of my old skills, rusty as they are.

 

Tuesday notes

- Um, there is a pretty big soccer match today (outside of Argentina and Switzerland which was pretty boring for 115 minutes, but crazy exciting at the end.)  Dan and I will have more to say about that later.

- Thanks to the GOG.com sales last week, I’m now a proud owner of yet another copy of the entire Wing Commander series, but this time in digital form. (Only cost $6 during the sales last week, well worth that price tag.)

One of the great things about the internet is that you don’t even have to work all that hard to configure the titles to run nearly perfectly on any system now a days.  People on Youtube have done a tremendous job showing you all of the files to edit and settings to put in place so that you can get the games working beautifully in a very small amount of time.

The thing that they can’t help you with is the fact that asteroids are just horrible in the first game.  I’ve died twice on missions where I’ve fragged multiple Kilrathi, only to have a giant asteroid undo all of that good work in seconds.  Definitely frustrating, but part of playing a 25 year old game.

- Amazon has NHL 09 and Madden NFL 08 (the last two releases of each for the PC) on sale for $2.  There is a pretty good modding community for NHL 09 and they have been updating teams, rosters, and schedules since the games release.  Worth a look for the price.

- Enjoy watching the match!

Quick E3 notes (sports related)

- Madden has a tackling “cone” this year.  Remember how well that worked the last time there was a “cone” used in a Madden game?

- EA focused on emotion in their description of FIFA 15, which is fine, but didn’t they do that also last year?  They did touch on deformation of turf and things such as that, but what I would love to see is this many guys in the box on corner kicks…

Oh, and on another note, did you see that FIFA 15 for the PC will be using the Ignite engine next year.  Can we get EA to finally start releasing all of their sports games for the PC again?

- NHL 15 looked terrific in trailer form, but I’m going to reserve judgment on it as I haven’t really enjoyed the series of late.  I guess I am just so much tougher on it seeing as how I play the game regularly in real life.

- PGA Golf 15 looked great and they finally seem to have changed the game so that you can play from anywhere on the course while eliminating loading times between holes which were two of my biggest issues with previous games.  Also, they made a point of showing a fantasy course with a battleship crashing into the green.  Not sure if that’s what fans were looking for, but ok.

Monday notes

- Looks as though Dan is going to win the race to 100 followers.  I’m just not that popular it appears.  (Anyone who sat in my high school lunch room could have attested to that fact.)

- As we get closer and closer to the World Cup, I have been spending more and more time playing Football Manager 2014 in a way to connect more with my building love of soccer.

With the January transfers now being a part of the default roster, I decided to take another shot at running Crystal Palace to see if I could get them to avoid relegation in FM, as they did in real life.

Tony Pulis can not be given enough credit for keeping Palace up this year, as I have found through my time with the game that it is incredibly difficult to keep that squad from being relegated.

Thanks to some monumental efforts from Ince and Chamakh I was able to grab 17th place in the Premier League (by 3 points) and stay up for one more year (and get a 2 year contract extension.  Woot!)

I have had more fun with this game over the past six months than any other game in recent memory.  Even though I can simulate every game, I find myself watching each match and yelling at my players when they make a bad play and pumping my fist in the air when they make a great one.

It’s still priced at $12.50 on Steam and is worth every penny.

- E3 begins with Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Ubisoft all having press conferences today.  Not sure how much there will be out there as far as sports gaming from them, but I’m sure that Dan and I will be commenting when we have a chance.

Monday notes

- It would be difficult to find a game to recommend more highly than Mario Kart 8 right now.  The family and I spent a good bit of time with it over the weekend and (other than my wife) none of us got anywhere close to bored with it.  Even when I was working on getting 3 gold stars for each of the series in single player mode, I was still having a great time with the game (and from my experience this will be a pretty good challenge.)

While I’ve seen some comments from people about how much they dislike the replay features of the games, I love having the ability to post your race highlights to Youtube (as I have done here and here.)

Also, it’s given us highlights such as this one.  (You have to love Luigi’s evil glare in that one.)

If you’re interested in playing some online, feel free to add me to your WiiU for some multiplayer.  My Nintendo NNID is Psunami.

- On Saturday, the family took the trip down to Miller Park for our first game of the year (my 3rd to this point)  and even though Brewers lost, we definitely had a good time at the game while taking in plenty of the activities at the stadium.

As I get older, things like tailgating have become less interesting for me, so we just went to the Friday’s restaurant at the stadium and had a nice lunch there while watching the end of Cubs batting practice and then got to our seats well before the game began.

I guess that there is just something special about a simple and fun day at the ballpark with the family.

- Lastly, I hope that you were able to catch game 7 between the Kings and Blackhawks last night as overtime was a fitting conclusion to an incredibly entertaining series.

Now I can firmly put all of my energy into cheering the Kings on to thrash the Rangers.

Thursday notes (gaming stuff)

- Last evening I finished up Wolfenstein: The New Order for the PS4 and I have to say that while the gameplay was that of a pretty standard first person shooter (with some pretty fun weapons,) the story really surprised me throughout.

With a game that has you blasting away at hundreds of 1960′s Nazi’s, you would think that it would be pretty easy to just have a cookie-cutter “all of them are evil” story involved, but the game surprised me with it’s ability to create some more complicated narratives of what it would have been like for people to have lived in a time where the Germans won World War 2.

Also, I have to give credit to the people at Bethesda and Machine Games for making a first person shooter game that does not include a multiplayer component.  Personally, I can’t remember the last time that I enjoyed playing an FPS game online, so purchasing this game was a way to support a company and studio for taking the chance on putting out a single player focused game.

- If you’re a Playstation Plus subscriber (and really, every PS3, PS4, and Vita user should be) you will be getting NBA 2K14 for the PS3 as part of the free game selection in June.  It’s not as strong of a game as the PS4 or Xbox One versions are, but it’s still a very solid basketball game for the price of… sort of free.

I do have to say that it has been great to see sports titles appearing in the monthly free titles as that was always a genre that was neglected in the PS Plus library.

- Continuing on the Playstation kick, I started playing MLB 14: The Show for the PS4 late last week and other than the large scale graphical improvements to the game I just wasn’t all that impressed by the Road to the Show mode (which is all that I’ve had time to tackle to this point.)

One of the things that impressed me the most about the My Player mode for NBA 2K14 for the PS4 was how much different and improved that mode felt over the previous generation versions.  I didn’t get any of that with the Road to the Show for MLB 14 and I guess the whole thing just left me feeling like it was missing something that made it really great.

I’ll give some of the other modes a look and see if any of them change my feelings on the game, but for now… meh.

Football Manager 2014 – $12.50 on Steam (and Amazon)

Ok, I get that not everyone has gotten into soccer as much as I have over the last year, but even if you haven’t fallen in love with the game, you can certainly owe it to yourself (or maybe you don’t) to learn more about the financials and strategies of soccer.

At Steam (and Amazon,) Football Manager 2014 is currently running for $12.50 and that’s a crazy good bargain for one of the best text based sports sims on the market.

Steam In-Home Streaming Live For All

I’ve been in the beta test for the last 3 months and can vouch for how awesome it is to be able to have a good PC and then be able to stream games to a less capable system in another area of your house.

It isn’t restricted to Steam games either, as I have been playing Diablo III and Starcraft streamed from my home theater PC up to my 6 year old office PC (and running them at 1920 X 1080 resolution) without any issues.

You may need to hit the forums to get your configurations dialed in (for non-Steam apps) but once you do, it’s all clean living.

Tuesday notes

- Somebody is taking a road trip to Columbus!  My daughters just about lost it this morning when I told them we would be going to see Crystal Palace play.  My wife won’t be able to attend, so it’ll be interesting taking the girls on an 8 hour drive to see a soccer match, but it should be worth it and we will definitely be coming home with some new Eagles gear.   Can’t wait.

- For those of you who trade in your games (Dan….) Target is having a deal where they are offering triple value on their trades for this week.   For example, Grand Theft Auto 5 for the PS3 is getting $45 in store credit right now.

As for me, I’ll be trading in the PS3 version of Diablo III (for $30) and picking up the new addon for the PC (which is priced at $30) along with a few other old PS2, original Xbox, and GC games that have bizarrely high values.

- Speaking of Diablo III, it took Blizzard a few years to get to this point, but the game is really great right now and I’m having as much fun with this as I did with Diablo II back in the day.  There is still something special about every Legendary drop and waiting to see what valuable goodie you’re going to get from it.

If you’ve held off until now, you should really pick up the game either for consoles or for the PC.  Both are terrific at this point.

- As for upcoming games, we have Wolfenstein and Transistor releasing today, Watch Dogs next week, and Mario Kart 8 at the end of next week.

Trying to remember this many games being released right before E3, but maybe I’m just getting old and having a hard time remembering details like that.  #oldmanproblems

Microsoft removing Kinect from Xbox One

Had to say that we should have seen this coming.

The Xbox One has probably been one of the greatest console purchase regrets that I’ve ever had.  I barely ever play it and it only really gets used as a system for my kids to watch Amazon Instant Video or Netflix.

I hope that there will be some games that will sell me on keeping the system when E3 rolls around or else there is more than likely going to be a Day One edition console for sale soon.

Wednesday notes

- So, if you’re a Playstation Plus subscriber (and really, if you have a Vita and a PS3, it’s almost silly not to) you get access to PES 2014 as one of the free games for May.  If you haven’t looked at the game yet, I highly advise that you download it and then try out Paul’s option files for the game.

Again, I just enjoy playing PES more than FIFA at this point (even though I own both.)  I haven’t messed around with online matches though, so if anyone wants to give it a try, send me an email or post a comment and we can give it a go.

- Also on the Playstation Store is the new release of Football Manager Classic for the Vita.  I love the cloud save capabilities of the Vita version so that you can play your franchise on the PC version, then take your Vita on the road with you and continue that same game.

We can only hope that other games follow this model in the future.

- My guess is that we might get a post from Dan today once we have a result from Manchester City and Aston Villa’s match.  A Man City draw barely keeps Liverpool alive.  A loss by Manchester City would change things dramatically.

- Anyone playing Hearthstone?  People keep telling me that it’s worth looking at (considering the fact that it’s free.)  Just curious.

- More as the week goes along.

 

Riding the Pines – Episode 88 (Brad Cook – OOTP Developments)

Hello again everyone.

Joining me on the most recent episode of Riding the Pines is Brad Cook, PR and Marketing Manager for OOTP Developments.

On the interview we discuss the newest version of the Out of the Park Baseball franchise, Out of the Park 15 (available for purchase via their website or via Steam.)

In the interview we discuss the new 3D engine, the international league additions, and many of the other new features that have been added to the game.

Enjoy the interview!

Tuesday notes

- Now that I have started to use my rehab equipment things are a good deal more painful than yesterday, but the meds are helping to take some of the edge off.  The fun part will be sitting in bed for 4 hours every day, for the next 2 weeks, while my leg gets lifted up and down over and over again. 

One of the biggest challenges that I have found out about, post surgery, has to be the fact that I can’t carry anything while using my crutches.  Making a meal becomes a much more complicated task once you realize that you can’t easily carry food from a microwave to the table.

Oh, well.  I guess it is all part of the process to getting back to”normal” though.

- Out of the Park Baseball 15 released yesterday and Dan and I should be posting some thoughts on the game over the next few days. Also, we are efforting an interview with them to talk about this version of the game and all of the new features contained in it.  I hope to be able to bring that to you by the end of the week as well.

- Dan mentioned Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball for the 3DS over the weekend and I highly recommend all 3DS owners give it a look.  I have already bought 3 of the mini games and have enjoyed playing each of them quite a bit.  I highly suggest looking for some of the online guides into the haggling process in the game so that you don’t have to pay full price for any of the mini games though.  If you play it right, you can pay $16 instead of $40 for the whole collection of games by the time you finish it.  Plus, you get to enjoy more of the games story that way.

- OK.  Back to bed for me.  Have a good day.

Monday notes

- Sports On Earth does a much better job of summing up what is going on with the Brewers right now than I ever could, as they detail what has been happening with the team during their 10-2 start (including winning their last 9 in a row.)

It’s hard to think about big series in April, but with 3 against Pittsburgh (already completed,) 3 against St. Louis, then another 4 at Pittsburgh, there is a lot of interesting games in the NL Central early.

Also, while it’s impossible for the Brewers can keep playing like they have, it’s been sure been fun to see how many interesting ways they can win games of late.

- Dan was giving me grief for not mentioning the Brewers lately, but I have been paying as much attention, if not more so, to Crystal Palace’s play over the last few weeks.  Getting 9 points over the last three weeks has pushed them from 17th place (and in serious danger of relegation) to 12th place and 7 points clear of 18th (with 1 game in hand) with 5 games to play.

While I still have so much to learn about the Premier League, and soccer in general, I just love the passion that the Palace fans show at every game, whether at home or on the road.  I’m glad that I picked the Eagles to support as this season has been a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

- The other thing that I’ve been watching was the end of yet another Islanders season.  That organization frustrates me to no end.  Maybe next year they’ll sell the team and fire Snow… maybe…

- FIFA World Cup 14 is due to release tomorrow for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and while I loved the previous game, I really couldn’t get into the game based on the demo.  The PS4 and Xbox One versions of FIFA play incredibly well and are very fluid, but the older version of the game engine just doesn’t seem to hold up very well after having experienced the new versions of the FIFA game engine.

- Konami has released their own World Challenge DLC for Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 and while it doesn’t have the full presentation that the EA Sports game costs, you could get Pro Evolution and the DLC for just over half the price ($29.99 for the game at Amazon – $4.99 for the DLC) of picking up FIFA World Cup 2014.

Something to think about.

 

Wednesday notes

- Hopefully you’re all able to get your brackets in.  I have mine completed, not that it will be any good (I’m pretty bad at them traditionally,) but it is done in time.

- Picked up a copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf and you should have seen how excited my daughter was to be able to visit the village I made in my game.  It really is the simple things that amaze them sometimes.  Of course, as soon as I got the game, I had plans for the next two evenings so she couldn’t come and visit my village again.  It’s tough being a parent (and having a life outside of home.)

- I have to admit that I’m a bit curious and jealous of the tech writers that are getting a chance to try out Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift at GDC, but the good thing is that it is going to be a few years before the headsets come out for the Playstation and PC.  Still, the tech looks cool and they could make for some interesting gaming experiences.

- Lastly, I’m very excited to start playing inFamous: Second Son over the weekend.  The first two games were two of my favorites in the previous generation and I look forward to being an truly evil bastard who will be destroying large parts of Seattle very soon.

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