A Little Bit at a Time

It tends to surprise my mates when they look at the Achievements List on my official Xbox Gamer Tag and see that all of the Achievements for certain games have not already been unlocked…  Games that have existed on my account for — in several cases — time periods measured in years.

This is not a case of one of my mates noticing a game like LA Noire and saying “how could you have stopped playing at X number of Achievements unlocked?!” or anything like that, but more a case of — well, let me quote the actual PM:

D00d WTH?!  I get it that you only have half the Chieves for Wolfenstein 3D but you have owned Doom for like three years and you still have not finished Episode 2??!?!?!  And don’t hit me with that lame assed excuse you always use and say you just do not have the time to game for pleasure anymore because we both know that is utter pants!

OK, for the record I have 59 of 60 Achievements unlocked for LA Noire — it would be 60/60 but I loaned the game to a friend six months ago and never had the opportunity to drop by their house, which is at mid-Cape so is not really convenient for me to visit but eventually I will, and then I will loan them another stack of games and get mine back…  Still…

So here is the deal: there are certain games on my Xbox that I play in small, bite-sized and very sincerely savored chunks.  Doom is one of them, so is Wolfenstein — in fact here is the complete list of games that I play (and their Achievements Count since my mates seem to be unnaturally focused upon that odd statistic plus the day I first played them) strictly for pleasure and for which I indulge myself in taking my time:

  • Call of Duty Classic (5/12) 12 February 2010
  • Crackdown 2 (12/70) 1 July 2010
  • Doom (5/12) 27 October 2008
  • Forza Motorsport 2/3/4  (38/44 – 48/50 – 53/58)  10/13/08 – 11/23/09 – 10/11/11
  • Hasbro Family Game Night  (38/91) 30 May 2009
  • Mercury HG (7/18) 27 September 2011
  • Minecraft (16/20) 13 May 2012
  • Naughty Bear (13/66) 8 July 2010
  • Oblivion (19/60) 9 December 2009
  • Snoopy Flying Ace (2/12) 28 July 2010
  • Ticket to Ride  (15/15)  22 September 2008
  • Tony Hawk’s PS HD  (5/16) 21 July 2012
  • Toy Soldiers & TS Cold War   (6/18 & 8/20)  3/9/10 – 2/9/12
  • Wolfenstein 3D  (6/12)  10 August 2012
  • Zuma  (2/12)  14 February 2010

Now to be fair you may look at my games played list and think that for certain titles I just game up on them, but that is not the case…  For instance it was not an unwillingness to play but the actual inability to play the following games that caused me to stop playing them:

  • FIFA 12 (2/45) I am not a big fan of sports games…
  • Fruit Ninja Kinect (0/21) I prefer to watch Autumn play, she is a wizard!
  • Gears of War (11/57) Co-Op Game Peter and I play when we have the time.
  • G.R.A.W. (5/43) Seriously bugged, crashes and cannot be played.
  • Puzzle Quest (1/12) I just do not like this game…
  • Scrap Metal (1/12) Cannot get past the level I am stuck on…
  • The Sims 3 (15/50) Cannot find the disc, it went missing!

So there you have it — the full statistical analysis of my games, game play preferences, and the games that I consider to be treasures that are to be enjoyed in small play sessions so as to squeeze the maximum enjoyment and entertainment out of them!

Now beyond the above lists I shall share with you my Top Ten All Time Favorite Games from my Games Played List on the Xbox 360 (note that this does not represent my All Time Favorite Games of All Time Every since it only includes the games on the Xbox 360 Console, just saying).  These are the Top 10 as I say, with Numero Uno being the most favored, and etc.

  1. Fallout 3 (72/72) First Played on 3 December 2008
  2. Forza Motorsports 4 (53/58) 11 October 2011
  3. Dragon Age: Origins (49/76) 16 December 2009
  4. Hitman: Blood Money (24/24) 13 June 2008
  5. The Godfather (56/58) 24 September 2008
  6. Assassin’s Creed II (48/50) 4 December 2009
  7. Forza Motorsport 2 (38/44) 13 October 2008
  8. Alan Wake (48/67) 29 April 2010
  9. Final Fantasy XIII (31/35) 6 April 2010
  10. Bully: Scholarship Edition (36/38) 6 June 2008

Now that I have shared mine with you, you should share yours with me, so please comment back to me your Top Ten All Time Favorite Games from YOUR Games Played List on YOUR Xbox 360!

Forza 4 Starting Over…

I went to play Forza 4 today and my save would not load…  It seems it was corrupted.  Then I remembered that last time I was playing Forza 4 was when we had that bad lightning storm and the power went out — and it must have went out as the game was saving, it seems…

So here I was looking at the loading screen and the hundreds of hours of play just zap!  Gonzo mates.

Then I thought, well if I have to start over anyway I may as well load Forza 3 and buy the two cars from the VIP pack that I never bought that, if I had bought them when I first played Forza 4 it would have imported them and unlocked the Unicorn Hunter Achievement…  So I loaded Forza 3 and bought the 2007 Ferrari 430 Scuderia and the 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera — both of which are cars I would not mind having anyway — then booted Forza 4 having deleted the messed up save and right after the first race the game prompted me to import my Forza 3 cars, and bam!  Unicorn Hunter.  So hey, I am a Unicorn Hunter, it is certified by Xbox LIVE and everything!

Once I actually got my new save started I realized that I had deleted the Forza 4 directly on the hard drive (because I was not sure what else was messed up) and THAT meant that all of the DLC, tracks, and special cars I had previously downloaded were now gone.  D’oh!  So after installing the first disc to the hard drive, then the second disc via the menu option in the game to do that and all that eating up about half and hour, I then had to go to the Marketplace and re-download all of my DLC, which ended up taking nearly two full hours.  Sheesh!

While I was in the process of doing that I noticed the new Porche DLC pack, which I recall someone telling me adds the 20 missing events to the game — so even though it was 1600 Microsoft Points and I don’t like spending that sort of number on a DLC, it does add the whole collection of cars to the game and the twenty events, so I went ahead and did it..  Which meant there was another thing I had to wait to download.

So here I sit waiting for stuff to download…  Sigh.

JASF – Janes Advanced Strike Fighter

Yeah it is an old title, but there are so few really good arcade-style air-war games for console, and I had never actually played it, so it seemed like a really good idea to get it and since I knew I was going to be receiving a review copy for Mad Catz freshman title Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII as well I figured it would be sort of cool to compare and contrast the two even if just in my brain…

Then I received both games — the one from Mad Catz, the other from GameFly — and the oddest thing happened.  I was looking at the Achievements listing for both and I realized that someone at Mad Catz must have worked on JASF, because the Achievements listings were eerily the same.  Don’t take that on faith, check it out for yourself.

So I have been playing both games, alternating between the two when I am taking a break from Risen 2 (which I am in the middle of writing the walkthrough/guide on) and I have to admit that I am having a freaking blast.  The Saitek AV8R Flight Stick that came with Damage Inc. has turned JASF into a completely different gaming experience and I highly recommend it — though JASF has some issues of its own with respect to some seriously imbalanced missions!

There are some squeeze points in this game that it occurs to me were absolutely created with the idea that you would not be playing the game solo for those points.  Specifically it appears that the game was largely created with the idea that you would be playing co-op with other human pilots/gamers, which may have worked out really great when the game was first released and it had a relatively large following, but two years down the road there is NOBODY in the online waiting areas, and so no way to get a partner to play with, which means having to figure out exactly the best plane and weapon load to take on these missions or simply die a lot.

And it is not just a matter of picking the right plane and weapons really, but also figuring out in precisely what tactical order the targets must be taken out in.  Which SAM sites must be destroyed first in order to avoid getting peppered by surface-to-air missiles in the middle of dogfights — and the dogfights are really nasty in this game!

I wish I could tell you how it stacks up to Damage Inc but that game is still under embargo, so I cannot talk about it for another five days.  Sigh.

JASF may have a few bugs, and it may be easier if you have some gaming buddies to play it with, but all in all it is a pretty darn good play — I reviewed it over on Game On @ The Cape Cod Times so if you are curious go check out my review there…

Now we can have pie!


The description of this blog reads “Personal observations on games and gaming that have nothing to do with my professional opinion or position on the matter…” and that is exactly what it is intended to be. 

Bearing in mind that I write for a living — in addition to being a newspaper columnist, freelance writer, games journo, staff writer for a gaming news site, and professional video game guide and walkthrough writer, I also write on a number of other beats for a number of different types of publication outside of gaming, business and tech – and travel. 

The important point to understand is that I created this blog to be a place where I can comment upon and write about my personal impression of games that I play that has nothing to so with my professional notes, observations, impressions, previews, reviews, and all of that other stuff.  I have not placed a link to this blog on the webpage that presents my professional face to the world because it is highly personal and has nothing to so with that side of my life…  I really need to make that clear!

What you will find here is a combination of bitching, humor, anecdote, observation, and just plain silly — and that is as it should be.  In spite of the fact that I spend every working day writing for pay, I find that I need to have someplace that I can go where I can write for not-pay.  Where I can say what I am thinking.  Where I can be silly or sarcastic as the mood strikes, and where what I say cannot be held against my status as a professional.

So there you go — a WYSIWYG approach to gaming commentary.

Welcome to my new little corner of the web.