Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Hobby

Part 2
I like Netflix. As an unmarried man (in a relationship) with no children I generally have enough disposable income for impulse buys. Until recently, this included movies that I thought might be good. Action. Drama. Comedy. Kung Fu. For less than 20 bucks I could take it home, put it on my shelf, and watch it whenever the mood might strike me. I ended up with a lot of crappy movies. Since disposable income has become a little more scarce recently (see: relationship) I've been looking at ways to keep my net cash-flow in the positives. Part of that was the decision to subscribe to Netflix, and so far it has been a rousing success! So far I have been spared from purchasing the James Bond movies: Fun, but definitely not worthy of several repeat viewings. Any Stargate SG1 episodes: The first few were excellent, but then the premise began to drag. The Fast and the Furious movies, several Anime series, some one-shot comedy flicks, dozens and dozens of titles. I've found that as I got older I was more and more willing to purge items that I would normally have hoarded, and I'm slowly chipping away at the stuff that surrounds me but never warrants a second glance.
I've started cutting back on the largest part of my consumerism: Gaming. I enjoy video games, and until a few months ago owned every major console. I did some honest introspection and realized that despite having been fun at the time, there would be little to no chance that I would ever revisit the majority of my accumulated video-games. They had been supplanted by newer distractions. So I began a cycle of purges. Sorting through my collection and weeding out the duds and abandoned gems. Trading them in for credit to be used towards new distractions. Now I browse my gamer forums and deal sites, keeping an eye out for price drops, coupon sales, and clearance items. Am I... 'growing up?' Hardly. I still game like a fiend, but my tastes have changed a little, and I've started shopping around more. I'm willing to wait for the deals, read the reviews, and allow the masses to filter through the glut of games for me. Luckily I have found an excellent online community of gamers to help me with this. Gamers with Jobs has been my primary online home for the last few years. But I digress...
Some of the games I have been spending some time with, or have begun ignoring:
A few days ago I finished up Puzzle-Quest: Galactrix on the NintendoDS. An interesting game, with a few twists on a classic Bejewled model. I was disappointed with the relatively low level cap for the main character. My playing style meant that I hit the maximum level before I was even halfway through the main campaign. I still had enough fun to plow through to the finish, and would recommend the game to anyone that enjoys games that require luck, skill, precision, and luck. ;)
Yesterday my girlfriend and I finished up Lego Indiana Jones on the Xbox360. By 'finished' I mean we received a 100% game completion status. Unlocking all the characters, collecting all the hidden secrets, finishing all the bonus missions, purchasing all the extra modes. We are done with that game. Nothing left to see. Nothing left to do. And aside from a couple of frustrating jumping puzzles we had a blast! The Lego games do a wonderful job of giving you low-stress gaming scenarios that feel very rewarding. It's nearly impossible to fail, but there is definitely some challenge involved in succeeding well. I'm debating picking up Lego Batman for us next!
I picked up SoulCalibur 4 for the 360 a few days ago during a sale, but haven't sunk too much time into it. Being able to fight as Yoda seems like it might be great fun!
My PSP has been stuck on Sudoku for almost a year now. ;) Great way to get to sleep at night!
On the Wii we've been doing some bowling, but it seems that the more I play, the worse I get. Otherwise I've stalled out on MadWorld. The current level I'm on is pretty difficult and I just haven't had the motivation to try more than once at a time. We'll see if I pick that one up again.
My PC gaming has been making a HUGE comeback... Plants Vs Zombies was a surprising time-sink. The game is perfectly balanced, with just enough cute, difficult, mean, rewarding, silly to keep me coming back. I've you're into chess-like tower-defense games I would definitely recommend checking out the demo for that one! Just watch how quickly that free hour of play disappears!
Also on the PC, Demigod. Demigod is a strange concept. A spot has opened in the ranks of the high gods, and the slot must be filled. The prospective gods, or Demigods, must battle amongst themselves to advance to the rank of God. A great mix of characters with different personalities and play-styles duke it out in high detail arenas, capturing resource points and doing battle while gaining levels and unlocking skills. It's hard to describe the actual game-flow, and once you look at what you do in each round the game seems like it should be extremely limited... but the depth of strategy and synergy for each of these characters provides so much variation by itself that I'm having a blast just trying out different approaches. We'll see how it goes after I dig into the multiplayer modes a bit, which is apparently where this game truly shines.
Well, those are the big ones. There's a few other things on my plate, like Civ Revolutions on the DS, Izuna 2, Disgaea 3, and if it weren't for all the other compelling games on my plate I'd be digging back into Team Fortress 2 to unlock the new content that Valve has released for the Sniper and Spy classes.
Yup, it's a good time to be a Gamer!

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