Thursday, June 09, 2005

Games and the Gaming Gamers Who Play Them

Lately, I have been playing a lot of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory for the XBox (in co-op mode with a friend online, since I've finished the solo campaign) mixed in with Spider-Man (which is actually a based on the movie) for the PS2.

Splinter Cell is a blast and my favorite series for the XBox, but I have been on a Spider-Man rampage. I borrowed it from the sibs on Memorial Day weekend and have finished it on the normal difficulty. One feature in games that I really enjoy is the ability "unlock" bonuses or secrets by accomplishing different things in the games; it extends the replayability of the game by giving additional goals asside from simply beating the bad guy at the end. In some games, you need to collect various hidden items, or earn enough money to buy the bonus goodies. In the case of Spider-Man, you get points based on various goals for each level. You will always get points for finishing the level, but to earn enough points to unlock the bonuses, you need to use a variety of attacks, and some levels have an added point bonus if you take no damage. The game is very well done. Some of the bonuses require finishing the game on the harder difficulty levels, so I started over and am playing through on "Super Hero" mode.

And, when I've exhausted both Splinter Cell and Spider-Man, I'll probably continue with the Sims 2 on my PC. What is interesting about the Sims is that you cannot really "finish" the game. Often described as a "sandbox", play continues indefinitely, with the direction and story of the game being left up to the player. Often in games, if you get tired with a certain character, you start over and have to work from scratch. The beauty of the Sims 2 is that the setup allows for restarts with new characters, while the previous characters remain in the neighborhood and the new characters can interact with them. Not only does this allow for a restart with new characters, but it also allows for gameplay at an entirely different level; you are now playing an entire neighborhood instead of just a sim or a family of sims.

And, I think that is enough video game talk for now. Come back later and I'll be sure to bore you further. ;)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Young Man, Take 2

While my progress, and interest, in my 'official' goal for this year is minimal, I have taken to a defacto resolution. Amusingly, the resolution I have fallen into is one which many make in vain; I have returned to the Y.

Starting the second week of March, I've been to the gym three times a week. There have been only a couple of weeks in which I missed a workout, so it has been pretty routine. It all started because of my griping to a co-worker about how I have a membership to the YMCA that I never use and was planning on canceling it. Upon hearing this, he expressed an interest in the Y since he was looking to become more physically active due to doctor's orders. I took him for a quick tour and he signed up the same day; we worked out for the first time the very next day.

It is interesting how some days seem to be trivial, while others feel like I've never worked out before, even though the weights remain the same. We always start with a fifteen minute run before we lift weights, and I think that might be the issue. Maybe it would be better to do the weights first. Though, the one time we tried reversing the order, it made the run much less bearable. We'll see.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Graduation vs. the Pistons

So, it is now about 4:40pm on Sunday June 5th, and I am sitting at home writing this instead of having a graduation dinner with my sister and family at the Rainforest Cafe. The entire state of Michigan is under a Tornado Watch until 8 tonight, so it didn't seem wise to make the 2.5 hour journey to Auburn Hills to participate in Jenny's graduation. It is all the Pistons fault.

If the Pistons had just swept the Heat, or been swept, the graduation cerimonies would have been on Saturday as planned. But, because there was a game six, graduation got pushed to Sunday. So, since there were no weather problems yesterday, the trip would have been a non-issue.

At any rate, I'm sorry I cannot be there, Jenny; I hope it was fun anyways. :)