Archives for March 2007

Light posting

It’s been a light posting week for me. I’ve been fighting a cold and I’ve been fighting countless bad guys in Everquest 2. Couple that with a blogging funk, and you’ve got the makings of a light posting week. I’m heading out of town this weekend with just my DS in tow, so there won’t be much blogging anyway. Oh, and there’s a little Final Four game to worry about, too.

My repaired Xbox 360 arrived yesterday, but I’m nervous about hooking it back up. I’ll explain more later. For now, I’ll just let you know that I’m not dead.

The blogging will resume in earnest next week.

Big Carnival update

The Carnival is still going strong, but I wanted to post a quick update with a list of the homes of the next few Carnival of Gamers. The next Carnival, being held April 5th, will be heading over to Gaming Nexus. Head over there to check them out, and of course check out the Carnival HQ for details on what the carnival is and how to participate. We’re always looking for new video game bloggers to submit their stuff.

Here’s a short list of future Carnival sites. Some of them are newer sites (at least to me) so check them out when you get a chance:

May: Conservathink
July: I eat games

There’s still plenty time to get your submissions in, we look forward to hearing from you!

Comic watch – Get Fuzzy

(This is a new (hopefully regular) feature here at, where I find comic strips in the dead-tree newspaper desperately trying be relevant by making pop culture references by referring to video games. I’m not trying to be a “Comics Curmudgeon” (one of my favorite sites) but I still have to point it out when I come across it.)

As the inaugural edition of the Comic Watch, it pains me that I have to single out Get Fuzzy, which is one of the comics I geniunely enjoy, but today’s comic wasn’t one of them:

Get Fuzzy

Surprisingly, the “girls don’t play video games” or “guys who play video games don’t have girlfriends” and “video gamers are lazy” are topics usually ignored by most comics attempting to use video games as punch lines. It’s usually “look how violent little Jimmy is becoming since he started playing that Atari Video-Machine 9000!” So in that sense, GF is going off the beaten path, but it’s still unfunny. Haha! Rob hates girls AND exercise because he loves video games! What a nerd!

It also bothers me that Satchel is bagging on Rob like this. Usually they’re pals that support each other’s quirks, not point them out like the sore thumbs that they may or may not be. But that’s neither here nor there.

As you’ll see, most comics don’t “get it.” A few do (Bill Amend comes to mind) but I feel a responsibility to call them out when they don’t. Consider yourself warned!

(And seriously, if you love to hate (or hate yourself because you love) the daily comics found in your paper, you have to read Comics Curmudgeon)

Back in business!

At least I’m almost back in business. I got my main PC fully upgraded (components listed here) and everything seems to be running smoothly. And of course much faster to boot. Every experience seems better with a clean fresh Windows install and new hardware.

And speaking of better experiences, I had no idea how much I was missing, graphically, in Everquest 2. I had the graphic detailed dialed all the way down so my old machine could handle it. The game looked decent, but I wasn’t blown away by it. After the new install with all the increased power, I was able to crank the details way up, and holy smokes! What a difference it makes. I had no idea there was grass in the Commonlands! I had no idea the mountains in the background looked so good! It was a HUGE improvement over my previous experience — the lighting effects, the spell effects, the details on my character and on the monsters — Wow! I am very impressed with how good Everquest really looks!

So it looks like I’ll be spending a lot more time playing EQ2, especially since my 360 is still in repairs. I don’t expect to see it for another week, so I guess I’ll have to be a PC gamer for a little longer.

(Hopefully this will also mean I will have a little more time to dedicate to actually blogging about video games, not just meaningless updates about my PC)

March Madness

My Buckeyes squeaked out a close one against Xavier. Phew, that was too close for comfort. I’ll be live-blogging all of OSU’s tournament game at my Ohio State site, Men of the Scarlet and Gray.

I thought the tournament might limit blogging here, but I don’t think that will be the case. Wireless internet and laptops were built for sports fans and bloggers, too.

When it rains

It really pours. My Xbox 360 is somewhere on its way to get repaired and now my main PC has died. I was already planning on a major upgrade soon, this just fast tracks that process.

My dead PC was being held together by the proverbial duct tape and fishing line. It’s gone through three video cards, three hard drives and numerous severe crashes. I lost count how many times I’ve reinstalled Windows on it. The motherboard, processor and memory were all four years old. It was time to upgrade.

I turned to Tom’s Hardware for some reviews and Pricewatch for the best prices. I was pleasantly surprised that Newegg has such good prices. Using Pricewatch, I’m always nervous that the lowest priced components are coming from shady operations, so I was much more confident going with Newegg.

The new system isn’t going to break any benchmark records, but should be solid for the next few years. My new rig will consist of:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
EVGA GeForce 7600GT
CORSAIR XMS2 1GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
Seagate Barracuda 160GB SATA

I’m pretty excited to get all my stuff. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll get it until Monday, even though I paid for expedited shipping. So it will be a DS weekend for me.

Video game capital of America?

Where is the Video Game Capital of America? Seattle? Austin? San Jose? Nope. Salt Lake City. According to the Salt Lake Tribune:

It’s called gamer’s thumb, and families in Salt Lake City could be among the nation’s most afflicted: the city has been named No. 1 in the number of households owning video game systems.

The least? People living in Florida’s coastal areas. Makes sense — go to the beach or play Halo 2? No a tough decision there.

For whom the bell tolls

(or, alternatively, For whom the red lights flash)

It tolls (they flash) for me.

Mrs. buttonMasher mentioned to me earlier this week that the 360 was acting up, freezing during the kids movies, going fuzzy and finally it stopped working all together. I powered it up Saturday night and sure enough, I was greeted with the three flashing red lights. Anyone who’s dealt with a 360 before knows what that means.

I had previously watched with apprehension as people on my friends list would suffer the fate of the red lights. I read with pity about the guy who had seven boxes die on him. I even thought I had made a mistake buying extended warranty coverage on my 360. Then the inevitable happened — it happened to me.

Perhaps the catastrophic failure I had while playing Dead Rising was a portent of things to come. Maybe it was just the poor ventilation in my TV stand. Whatever the case, it’s dead now and there’s not much else I can do.

So in the mail goes my dead 360. I doubt I’ll be seeing it again for a couple weeks. Looks like the criminals in Pacific City just got a reprieve.

I hope they know it won’t last!

What I’m playing

I have a new rule for my game playing — I’m limiting myself to one title per console at a time. A couple of games are exempt from the rule. Viva Pinata is one, since it’s a game my kids love to watch. So I can pop Viva in at any time. Another is Sudoku on Brain Age. That’s an excellent 5-minute gaming-fix game, so it’s exempt as well. So, with that in mind, here is what I’m playing:

CrackdownCrackdown – I haven’t played much Crackdown lately, as the kids have been monopolizing the TV of late. I’ve finished off the first two gangs, so I’m in no hurry to rush through the rest of the single player missions. I haven’t felt super compelled to jump back into Crackdown for some reason, but if I could get into a co-op game or two, that would definitely interest me. My first couple co-op games were a total blast, so I’m looking forward to more co-op craziness. If you see me online, don’t hesistate to send an invite. I’ll probably be on at some point since I have hundreds of orbs to gather. The way it looks now, I may do a little orb hunting this weekend.

I have the maps, afterall.

Everquest 2Everquest 2 – Right now, EQ2 is consuming the lion’s share of my gaming time. When my running mates are on, I’m out slaying monsters and doing quests. When they’re not on, I’m harvesting everything in sight and working on my tradeskills. I decided to go with Provisioner (the guy that makes food) because everyone’s got to eat, right? The crafting isn’t as engaging as I thought it would be at first, but it’s still a fun diversion. I just wish there was a way to make more than two items at a time.

I also made my way to Nektulos Forest, which is much too difficult for my little Bruiser, but has actually rekindled that feeling I had when I first played EQ1. My first couple weeks in EQ2 didn’t have that same feeling, but making it to the forest, where things are darker and more confined, reminded me of my first corpse runs in EQ1. Ahhh, those were the days.

Contact DSContact – Currently, Contact is getting the least amount of attention. I get to it about once a day (read: bathroom break) but I’m making steady progress. I started over from scratch a few weeks ago, so I had to replay through some of the content, but it wasn’t too painful. I’m now in the desert, trying to find all the pieces to a statue. I’ve exhausted all the places to look, and the only possibilities seem to be either buying a deed to a pyramid to explore (it’d take forever to get enough money for it) or figure out what outfit I need to wear to open a door in another pyramid.

Anyone with hints for getting past this point would be appreciated. Otherwise, Contact has been a fun little game. I’d classify it as an RPG-lite kind of game, which is okay with me.

So that’s what I’m playing. I’ll also think I’ll slip in a round or two of Tiger Woods when I get a chance. What are you guys playing?

Crackdown Maps (Agility and Hidden Orbs)

Update — September 2016: Follow on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the content we publish!

I haven’t mentioned Crackdown recently, but I’ve been getting a lot of people looking for Crackdown Maps for both the Agility Orbs and the Hidden Orbs. I haven’t begun my orb quest in earnest yet, as I still have single player missions to complete, but I’m torn on whether or not I want to use these maps. Nevertheless, there are people who are looking for them, so here you go. Actual images after the jump.

Agility Orbs Map

Hidden Orbs Map

[Read more…]