Xbox 360 – Goodnight Old Friend

imageThe Xbox 360 was a mainstay in my gaming adventures for almost four years and now I have retired it. I pondered selling or trading it is but I just couldn’t do it. Therefore, the console has been returned to its original packaging and tucked away.

I purchased the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Special edition back in December of 2009 after a friend’s pestering of me to get an Xbox. Having only gotten back into gaming a year previous with the purchase of my PlayStation 3, I didn’t really want another console but I relented to his harassment and found that this bundle was the best deal at the time. After getting the console and starting to play I had to go thank my friend for his relentless badgering. Countless hours were lost on Modern Warfare 2 alone until I started building up a game library. My collection never got to be very extensive but I came to enjoy almost every game I owned. To this day I still have the following games on disc:

  • Halo – Combat Evolved, Anniversary Edition, 2, 3, 4, Reach, ODST, Wars(ok, I didn’t really enjoy Wars)
  • Rockband: The Beatles
  • The Orange Box(one of the greatest collections ever)
  • Left 4 Dead 1 and 2(best zombie games ever)
  • Gears of Wars 1, 2, 3, and Judgement(least favorite was Judgement by many miles)
  • Mass Effect 1, 2, 3

Great memories still remain with me from my time on this console. Everything from playing online with my brother in Halo 3, to playing local co-op in all the Halo games with my niece, and even watching the kill cams in MW2 to try to figure out where I was getting killed from. Those are all just memories now and there is nothing left to do with the console for me.

Boxing up the Xbox 360 felt like burying my dog. I didn’t want to admit it was dead but I had to. I only turned the thing on to install updates one last time before packing it up and that was the first time I had powered it on in over a year.  Backwards compatibility on the Xbox One had no influence as I don’t play any of those games either. It just finally came to a point that I had to face that there was no life left in the Xbox 360, at least for me.

Given that Microsoft announced the end of production for the console, I felt it was time for me to live up to the idea that it was over for me as well. I’ll think of it fondly and every time I play my Xbox One I’ll remember the legacy it came from.

 

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 4-28-2016: I Blame Tina Fey

Image via sweatpantsandcoffee.com

Image via sweatpantsandcoffee.com

With another week gone by, I have found myself distracted by something.

Entertainment!

It’s always a mix of things…

  • The Ranch – I went to this expecting nothing but found something I enjoyed greatly. Not being a fan of Ashton Kutcher gave the slit tilt towards not wanting to watch this series at all and the fact that I thought he was good is even more of a surprise. It was nice to see him reunited, on screen, with Danny Masterson and the two still had good chemistry. Although there was evidence of their characters from That ’70’s Show within their characters on this show it was still fun to see. Sam Elliot was my decided favorite with his grumpy, crotchety father character.
  • Lucy – In all honesty I watched about twenty minutes of this movie until I solidly remembered why it didn’t like it – it’s not very good.
  • Jurassic World – As much as I like Chris Pratt, I just can’t convince myself this movie is any good.
  • The Art of the Steal – This was an ok action movie but Kurt Russel just isn’t much of a draw at this stage in his career.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 2 – The season of the show seemingly branched out by doing more with some of the other characters. Everything eventually led back to Kimmy and did so in some hilarious ways. Titus Andromedon made me laugh countless times but his dance scene to Paula Adbul’s Forever Your Girl has planted the tune in my head since I watched it, I can’t get rid of it and I can’t stand it but then I chuckle thinking about the scene.
  • The Hunt for Bin Laden – A fairly yawn-able documentary about our government’s struggles to bring Bin Laden to justice. Not so much worth watching.
  • Spy Game – The most boring movie with two huge stars I have watched recently. The combination of Robert Redford and Brad Pitt did nothing to save this movie from being a complete snooze-fest. Every time the movie appeared to be at an action point, it passed with almost no notice and then the credits rolled.
  • V for Vendetta – I basically watch this movie because of Natalie Portman. It is an ok movie but nothing notable.
  • The Mummy – This movie has lost nothing over the years. Then again, it didn’t have much to begin with. It is sort of fun to watch but you could spend your time doing better things rather than watching it.
  •  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – The plot line continues to thicken as we roll towards the season finale. A blend of action and intrigue has the tension mounting and I can’t wait to see it explode.
  • Game of Thrones – Glad t have it back but I feel more confused by the premiere of this season than I did by the conclusion of last season.(Spoiler?? – How do two people jump off of a castle and still be alive? What did I miss? I watched the show three time and just don’t get it.)

 Games!

Here ya go…

  • Zombi – By the time I got to the first safe area I had lost interest. That was less than ten minutes into the game. I have absolutely no interest in returning to it.
  • Dead Star – At least I finished the tutorial of this game. It is a twin-stick space shooter that could be pretty fun. I want to go back to  but I just never seem to do so.
  • The Division – It’s not a good sign when even Fox News makes fun of it. There was also an article over on VG247 that talks about how a game dev has criticized the games netcode. If what he says is accurate it could be a deep seated problem and hard to correct. I was surprised to read how the game might be set up and see why it is a huge problem. Finding myself playing less and less but not because of the netcode issue, just lack of interest. Checking in to do the hard dailies is about it for me anymore which makes me wish they had a system to stack or hold the daily assignments like Destiny will let you hold bounties but that is of small concern given the other issues with the game at this point. Glitches be glitches.

News!

Not much here but….

  • The Division – See above.
  • Uncharted 4:  A Thieve’s End – Apparently in a hilarious case of irony, some copies of the game were stolen. This just makes me laugh.
  • YouPorn had an esports team? – I guess they did and they got banded by the ESL. My only question how they managed to exist this long and have nobody say or do anything about it? That speaks more against the ESL than YouPorn.
  • Xbox 360 production has ceased – Thanks for the memories. You were a great console but your time is over. I’ve been contemplating the idea of packing mine up for storage. It pains me too much to think about parting with it but I haven’t even powered it on in months.
  • PS 4.5/NEO rumors – I hate the rumor mill, especially around consoles. Until somebody from the actual company says something official none of it matters. But is got me think, and hear me out on this.. what if PlayStation VR is just a hardware add-on that will allow for enhanced graphics and 4K output? I only put this forward as a possibility because nobody is sure what the peripheral “box” that comes with the PSVR actually does. Could it have the raw horse power needed to to better graphics? I doubt it but it could be possible. This would give current PS4 users a way to get better graphics and not shove completely different hardware platform onto the market. This would also keep the 30+ million base of players happy about keeping their current hardware and would only have to by the PSVR if they wanted the VR experience or a graphics upgrade. It’s pretty far-fetched but I wanted to through it out there.
  • Nintendo – I’m not sure of Nintendo’s strategy at this point. They announce the NX is coming out in March of 2017 but then announce that the next Zelda game is delayed until next year as well. Does that effectively kill the Wii U? Who’s going to invest in a system that is essentially not supported or developed for already when they know a new system is coming? And one of the most highly anticipated games is for the current console is also going to be on the new console? By the way, the NX won’t be at E3(scratches head).

Yes…that damn song is still stuck in my head.

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 4-21-2016: Forgetting For Friday

headDon’t know about your work week but I really want to forget mine.

Entertainment!

Of all the things to be watching:

  • Roadhouse – A classic ’80’s movie that is action packed and ridiculous. Perfect.
  • Superman Returns – After watching it again, it is not as bad as I remember it…close but not quite as bad.
  • B.B. King: The Life of Riley – An interesting look at one of my favorite musicians.
  • San Andreas –
  • Sunshine – What do you make of a Sci-fi psychological thriller that isn’t very thrilling, not very interesting, and questionable science? Not much.
  • Vacation(2015) – This movie didn’t have the same feel as the original. Maybe if I had never seen the original I would have like this one better.

 Games!

So The Division…this is getting more and more like Destiny. The Division is trying to crack down on people using exploits to get rewards whereas Destiny had cheeses. It seems that Massive is taking more of an affront to these than Bungie did. They are looking to “punish’ players who used these exploits but they have not said what the punishment may be nor how they are going to determine who to punish. Unfortunately they are not addressing the real problem – the game is broken. The fact that people are actively looking for these exploits are big hint that they are not enjoying the game either. The reward system isn’t great but so many people trying to fast-track their rewards isn’t a good sign.

Maybe just like Destiny, I’m going to keep losing interest in The Division.

News!

What’s that?….

  • The Division – Kind of already went over its issues.
  • Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst delayed, again – It’s only a few weeks but still…Hopefully it is just a case to do a little bit of extra polishes on the game and not something serious.
  • Prince died – RIP

My mind feels like mashed potatoes right now.

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

It’s Not My Fault… San Andreas

SANANDREASA disaster movie that is not a total disaster.

The tale of Ray Gaines beings far before the story of the movie. The film start with him out on patrol as a rescue-chopper pilot but we find that he was some history. Not only is a war veteran, he is the father of two but later we find that he tragically lost one of his daughters in an accident. Where we find Ray now is in the midst of loosing his wife, his remaining daughter going to college, and if that were not enough the largest earthquake in history happens. Now he must save his family from certain death

We’ve come to a point in time that almost any movie with Dwayne Johnson is a good watch. Somehow he has become the Arnold Schwarzenegger of his generation. One came from body building, the other from “professional” wrestling but each has carved out their spot as Hollywood stars. Although, I don’t know that I can argue for either of them actually being good actors but they are great watches.

With the movie San Andreas, Johnson takes he leap into the natural disaster drama. This movie is no Sharknado but they all can be that terribly entertaining. Based on some scientific facts, there is a lot of artistic license in this movie. Sure there is a fault line in San Andreas, how far and were it extends to nobody truly knows. Could the type of damage depicted in the movie actually happen? Again, nobody really know but past disasters have shown us the our Earth is capable disasters upon scale that are hard to even imagine.

Even though the movie is entertaining and fun to watch as a whole, I tend to get stuck on the details. Like:

  • If there are no known fault lines in Nevada, why would there be sensors there to begin with? One would think that resources would be scarce enough that long shots wouldn’t get these types of appropriations.
  • After the first quake in Nevada, why would Ray be going the next day instead of immediately? Moreover, why would a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department be going at all?
  • Why is the guy the daughter hooks up with British? Was this some cheap excuse for some one to have a map they can refer to three times in the movie? Who in this day and age has a paper anything? Why wouldn’t they have been using their ceel phones like normal people? Oh wait…they’re British.
  • If Blake, the daughter, had her legs pinned under debris while stuck in the car, why isn’t she injured in any way?
  • How does Ray not get called out for ignoring his civic duty and abandoning his job? Granted, his heart is in the right place trying to save his family but he essentially steals a helicopter and leaves his LAFD team in the lurch.
  • When Blake and Ben run by the firetruck, how can it be that the firefighters didn’t take their supply box AND nobody else looted it?
  • Does the scientist guy ever hook up with the reporter? They seem to have a thing going on but the movie ends without resolving this.

Most if these hangups can be overlooked as the movie is generally enjoyable. Given the over-the-top special effects and somewhat convoluted plot I still liked the movie. Don’t go looking for a sequel, rebuilding San Francisco after an earthquake would probably not make for a very compelling movie. That is unless this is a setup for Pacific Rim 2 or even a prequel!

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Living Out My – Final Fantasy XV: Platinum Demo

ffxv-pdThe full Final Fantasy XV doesn’t release until later this year but the Platinum Demo is here now to give a very, very small taste of what is to come in the full release.

The story is played from the perspective of a young boy named Noctis. He has fallen asleep and is in his dream world. Here he finds some kind of unicorn-rabbit-dog and decides to follow it on this Alice in Wonderland type adventure. Just like Alice, Noctis is trying to get home but he must do so by waking up from his dream. This demo is short, coming in at about thirty minutes needed for completion. I managed to play the end boss twice in that time and my skills at this game are lackluster to say the least.

The only Final Fantasy game I can compare this to, because it is the only other one I’ve played, is Final Fantasy XIII. There are similarities and there are differences. The character modeling and environments look stylistically similar. The third person perspective is also done and works in a similar faction, although I did find that movement was a bit ‘floaty’ and imprecise at times. The camera would turn to an angle in combat that made it impossible to see what you were doing at times. Most definitely not ideal especially during combat. The game differs in its combat style moving from a turn based play to an attack and defend style real time combat. I liked the later much better, even if I’m not skilled at it.

Taken for what it is, a demo, this game is alright. It delivers what a demo piece should. A small sliver of what is to come and it can be forgiven for the few issues it has. It is still an impressive looking game with a trippy atmosphere. It leaves open a great amount of promise and intrigue to come in the game’s full release.

However, I will not be enticed into making a purchase of said full game. There is a great respect that I place towards the Final Fantasy series but I still cannot generate a personal interest in it. Not knowing or understanding the lore is a barrier that I cannot seem to overcome. Nor is there any draw to seeing and playing new characters or story. Buying the game just to play it is not worth it to me. Those that do enjoy the Final Fantasy series have a lot to look forward to.

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 4-14-2016: Rather Be Fishing

Image via takemefishing.org

Image via takemefishing.org

I haven’t been fishing in years but I’d rather be doing that than being on-call for work. Alas, it’s part of the job and it has to be done. It’s a good reason to watch movies and play single-player games.

Entertainment!

This week included:

  • Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – I like this episode much better than last week. I loved/hated the cliffhanger ending.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Watching this movie about a half dozen times took a lot of my time away from watching anything else. As much as I liked it I the felt there were a lot of issues.
  • B.B. King: The Life of Riley – An interesting look at one of my favorite musicians.
  • Flight of the Intruder – I remember watching this movie back in the early ’90’s on VHS. It was nice to revisit it and see that it was still a decent movie.
  • The Benchwarmers – Needing a break from The Force Awakens, I wanted to watch a comedy so I picked this one. About five minutes into it I realized I had already seen it but I continued to watch it anyway and got a few laughs from it.

 Games!

The Battleborn beta on PS4 provided me a reprieve from The Division for an hour or so. It was ok but it is so generic and nondescript that until I got into the first match I thought it was a beta for Overwatch. To me these two games, as well as Paragon, look too much alike to distinguish them properly. There were a few bumps with the game but I write that off as issues any beta would have. The bigger issue is that this game is so bland there isn’t much motivation on my part to play it again.

After the latest patch for The Division was released, I jumped back into the game. Luckily I didn’t have some of the issues other players were having. Haven’t tried the Incursion mode yet but I do like that the loot drops seem better in the rest of the game. I’ve already had more high-end gear drop than I have had in a while. That helps to compensate for the nerf they put on the crafting system.

News!

What’s that?….

  • The Division 1.1 patch issues – The trading system isn’t what people were hoping for but it’s a start. There are bigger issues like the daily Challenge Mode not being available(which has since been resolved), rewards not dropping for people correctly in the Incursion mode, but the most painful might be that apparently some Xbox One players have had their characters disappeared. Ubisoft and Massive are aware of the issue but have now timeframe for a fix. Ouch, I can’t imagine how bad this must feel.
  • Titanfall 2 teaser trailer – OH MAN, WAS THAT A SWORD?!?!?
  • Gears of War 4 trailer – Kinda makes me sad that this didn’t excite me at all. I feel like this game has to have Horde mode or I may pass on it.
  • DRIVECLUB studio gets a second life – Evolution Studios will keep it’s talent mostly together and become part of Codemasters. It’s great to see a bad story have a happy ending.
  • Oculus Rift launch gets worse – Citing a supply problem, there are a growing number of reports that pre-orders and regular orders are having their ship dates pushed back by weeks or months. Yikes. Maybe Sony wisely pushed their PS VR launch back to avoid this problem.

My goal for this week is to get some sleep. This situation of getting three hours of sleep every night just won’t suffice.

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

It Was… Star Wars: The Force Awakens

starwars-forceawakensYears after the Rebellion destroyed The Empire we find they didn’t. What? (Spoilers be damned, stop reading if you fear them.)

An unknown amount  years after the Rebellion blew up the Death Star(again) we find that things still aren’t well. The Empire is somehow still in control of the galactic government, sort of(?). In these days we find a new foe, The First Order, that challenges both the Republic/Empire and Rebellion. We are also to find that this splinter group has created a newer, larger, more powerful Death Star.

By trying to be an homage, this film struggled to cover any new ground. There is a difference between honoring the past and being a copy-cat. So much of this movie is directly taken from the previous films it is nearly criminal. It is so obvious that a hilarious parody has been made celebrating the fact. It almost begs to have the subtitle “names have been changed to protect the innocent”. Having watched and enjoyed the previous films, there were characters and moments that felt as though they had been cut and pasted from them.

Let’s look at the characters – the good, the bad, the ungodly resemblances

  • Rey – Somewhat unlikable know-it-all orphan that lives on a desert planet but powerful in the Force. This generation’s Luke Skywalker. The focal point for the likely future but unfortunately a character that can feel overbearing and abrasive.
  • Finn – A storm trooper with a sense of conscience but saddled with ineptitude. This generation’s Jar Jar Binks. This character means well but is always out of his element and can be less than helpful at times.
  • Han Solo – Han so-old, right? Aged like a fine wine that was opened up a day early and left on the table overnight. This generation’s Obi Wan. He dies at the hand of his greatest enemy and disappears, likely to return by way of the Force to help guide the wayward Jedi and companions.
  • Leia – Diligent leader of the resistance. This generation’s ‘Whatever-that-no-name-General-was’. Likely only to be brought in when the plot has stalled, the gruffy leader will offer little counsel unless no one else can.
  • Chewy – Large furry that only grunts. This generation’s Chewy. (Insert Wookie sound.)
  • Kylo Ren – “Feared” enforcer of the First Order.This generation’s sad excuse for a Darth Vader. He’s everything his predecessor was, except for anything that made him feared but he still gets a cool suit.

The plot was a true sore spot for the entire movie. Not only did it feel like a rip off of previous movies, it felt as though it were pieced together as it went along while at the same time being completely predictable. Not only it it drag on, it did so by spending too much time on points that didn’t need it and not addressing others that did. Take the fact of how or why Han and Leia’s son became Kylo Ren not getting any time or explanation but the fact that Poe Dameron should have been dead, several times, yet miraculously shows back up near the end of the film. Then tell me how a planet can be turned into a weapon and nobody noticing?

Let’s delve into a few issues with the characters a bit further. Take Mas for instance how she “doesn’t know the Force” but talks and acts like she does. Ultimately she is the one to try to steer Rey to Luke and her path with the Force. But I guess a lot of people know how the Force works since Han tells Finn how it doesn’t. Then there is Kylo Ren. How can this guy be one of the most feared persons in the universe when he throws temper tantrums like a twelve year old, talks to his dead grandfather, almost cries to his dad, and whimpers in front of his boss? Being of the age that I am, this feels like a Coy and Vance situation. That is, the attempt to replace something that looks like what it is replacing but it just doesn’t work out. Seriously, Kylo Ren almost loses a light saber battle to Finn, a borderline incompetent trooper, and escapes from Rey, an untrained scavenger, only because the planet is collapsing. He better get a lot of training before the sequel.

At the end of the movie, the feeling i had was that it was a good Star Wars movie but not a good movie overall. I realize that this was meant to be a hand-off from generation to generation. Even with that knowledge, there is the sense that it could have been done differently and with greater presence. As many times as I’ll watch this film I will enjoy it but always look at the promise it had but failed to reach. The wider hope is that the upcoming movies will be even better.

(Bonus material: Then there is the fact that Disney made a lot of material non-canon for the universe. Which is fine but the they dress Rey in garb that looks oddly like the character from The Force Unleashed and call the new Death Star “Starkiller Base”?)

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.