Tag Archives: Gaming

Let the Games Begin

The other day, a guy was making a food delivery and he seemed kinda stunned when he looked to his right a little and saw a game paused on my Xbox One, prompting him to ask who was playing the game.  Since I know there’s just the two of us and our cat, it seemed to be an odd question and more so since Linda wasn’t even in the room… and the cat was in hiding (and can’t hold a controller).

So when I told him I was playing Battleborn, he asked how old I was, his surprised deepened as if it never occurred to him that someone my age can play games on an Xbox One… or at all.  I offered unto him that I happened to know there were people older than I am playing games like Borderlands, Call of Duty, Gears of War, etc., and, I dunno, I guess I got some major props from this guy.

I play games of some kind every day, several times a day on either my iPad or my Samsung tablet and, yes, my Xbox One rarely gets turned off because I usually have a game in progress.  Thanks to my Xbox Live Gold membership, I have access to a lot of free games like the one I’m playing now, Watch Dogs, or the occasional free trial for games like Battleborn, which I went and purchased.  Both of these games reminded me of something kinda important, like how tough it can be to figure out a new-to-you game and more so when there’s no manual readily available.

Sure, I can go online and down one… but where’s the fun in that?  Yesterday, I’m playing Watch Dogs and feeling the frustration a bit because I haven’t really caught on to all of the game’s nuances, which is getting me killed repeatedly and all because I have no idea what to expect despite knowing what an objective is.  Like the part that drove me crazy for a while – getting sent to prison to find this guy and convince him not to rat me out to the cops – and only armed with my trusty and powerful smartphone that allows me to hack pretty much any- and everything.

I get out of my cell but now I have rooms to sneak into, stuff to hack in order to find this guy but I gotta do it without any guards seeing me.  Getting past this part was aggravating but I finally get to where this guy is – the guards are kicking his ass to convince him to give me up and now I finally get my hands on a weapon – a shotgun – and it’s simple:  Take out the guards, question the dude, get out.

Uh, not that simple.  It took me about fourteen tries to kill all of the guards… then the game tosses in something I’d not encountered:  A practically bulletproof “enforcer” who blew me away while I sat here asking, “What the hell is that?”

Now, I’m not above looking up the fan Wiki and finding out what I don’t know about a game… and it seems that if all you have is a fairly wimpy shotgun, the only way to kill an enforcer is to shoot him in the head… and as many times as you can while he’s busting caps in you.

Took me another five or six times before I finally offed the enforcer and the other two “normal” guards that sneaked in and capped me once.  Now I gotta get out of the prison, past a slew of cops waiting just outside the door and, oh, yeah, a helicopter!  While I’m doing this – and it only took three tries to eventually escape – I was thinking about how much fun it is to learn a game blind but, again, how frustrating it can be because you just have no idea what the game is going to throw at you next.

There are some laughable and somewhat embarrassing moments, like any time I steal a car and have to drive it.  I am an experienced in-game car driver but this game reminds me of the very first time I tried to drive a car in a game.  The driving controls are familiar… but the way the cars respond has me spending more time wrecking them than actually driving them; in one part where I was being chased by the police, man, I destroyed more property than Hancock and killed more civilians than in any game I’ve ever played and all because the damned cars are hard to control.  I did (eventually) escape… but not after totally trashing ten different cars and hundreds of civilians!

I’m gonna take a closer look at the sensitivity controls; they either need to be dialed down or up so that I have better control; otherwise, the civilian population will get wiped out.  Oh, before I forget, this game is played in a beautiful rendition of Chicago, a city I’ve been to quite a few times so that helps… some but the game’s graphics is among the best I’ve seen.

Now, Battleborn.  It’s a great game if you like shooting things and the game has a slew of characters at your disposal and all with different abilities and weapons.  You can play it solo or join up with others.  To learn the game, I started playing solo and some levels are easy, some tough and intensive, but I’m thinking, okay, this is challenging and I can see why the preferred playing mode is multiplayer because there’s just too much for one player to pay attention to and tends to result in a lot of respawning.

But I’m getting through it until the “episode” I’m currently stuck in; I have the “help” of another character fighting off all kinds of enemies until I get to the very last one and, yeah, I’m pretty pissed off because for this round, I have to protect a device from being destroyed and I’ve not found a way to keep it unscathed.  The last attacker shows up, I’m throwing everything I have at it -and right  along with some weapon emplacements – when the bad guy backs way out of weapons range and launches a mess of missiles at the device.

Mission failed.  Player totally bent out of shape, hands hurting from gripping the controller tightly and applying body language that never helps anything and the beginnings of a headache.  I’m used to playing games where there are multiple playable characters that have different abilities, like any of the Borderlands games and because I play these games, I’m fairly decent at wiping out multiple attackers but I’ll admit that Borderlands has spoiled me because I have at my disposal a shitload of weapons I can pick and choose from to decimate the bad guys and to great and spectacular effect.

Battleborn gives me one, “upgradable” weapon along with a “DNA helix” of other abilities that I have to pick and choose from and, frankly, with the characters I’ve played with so far, some of those extra abilities suck.  Badly.  I know the level I’m currently stuck on can be beaten… I just haven’t figured out how to do it without recruiting another player to come into my game and help me out… which I kinda stubbornly refuse to do because I am a gamer, have been one for a long time now, and ego demands that I exhaust everything I know of before calling for help.

But it’s still fun even though both of these games are good at frustrating me.  Just as I learned to play the Borderlands games so that I’m not really thinking about what I’m doing or how to do something, I will eventually master these games as well.



Posted by on 19 June 2017 in Life, Living and Loving


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Yes, I’m a Gamer!

My gaming days go all the way back to playing Pong and, today – thanks to my baby, Linda, I have an Xbox One after trading in my Xbox 360 and my PlayStation 3.  A few years ago, my daughter and son-in-law talked me into playing this crazy-assed game called “Borderlands,” a first person shooter (FPS) game and a type of game I used to suck at; I tried to play “Halo” when it first came out and got my ass handed to me because I couldn’t coordinate what I was seeing with what I was supposed to be doing… so I avoided these kind of games… until I was finally convinced that I had to get Borderlands so they could teach me how to play it.

Since I didn’t have a working Xbox 360 headset, we coordinated my training over Skype… and I got hooked big time and eventually conquered Borderlands… then it was on to Borderlands 2… then Borderlands:  The Pre Sequel.  And along the way, I learned that I just love killing things and blowing shit up – it is strangely relaxing as much as it can raise my blood pressure.  So, when I got my Xbox One – without Kinect – since it didn’t come with a game, I needed a game… and got Borderlands:  The Handsome Collection which is Borderlands 2 and The Pre Sequel in one package and includes some downloadable content (DLC) that I would have had to pay extra for.

Now, before giving up my PlayStation, I had already beaten The Pre Sequel with three of the four available characters so having to start over on the new Xbox platform wasn’t a big deal; I choose to play as Handsome Jack (thanks to the included DLC) and quickly finished the game… but along the way, I noticed two new locations I could travel to:  The Holodome and Deck 13 1/2 so I said to myself, “Before you move on to True Vault Hunter mode (same game, higher level of difficulty), let’s check out Deck 13 1/2!”

And I wish I hadn’t.  Oh, I finally beat that part of the game… but it wasn’t easy and by far one of the craziest game modes I’ve ever played.  I was spending hours with controller in hand, constantly fighting (and killing) bad guys and with weapons that were barely equal to the task; every night, when I had reached my endurance limits – read this as I was either very frustrated or frustrated with the beginnings of a major headache – I’d turn off the Xbox, shake my head, and wonder why I choose to subject myself to this madness, like playing the game itself wasn’t bad enough.  As I’d climb into bed with my last actions (and brutal destruction) still reverberating in my head, I’d tell myself that I’m not even gonna play the game tomorrow.

And found myself doing it anyway.  To play Borderlands – any version – you not only find yourself playing with weaponry that’s pretty cool but, often, not equal to the level of bad guy trying to make you respawn and start the level over again.  You need strategy and some ingenuity and a bus load of luck as you increase levels and the bad guys get harder to kill.  It’s not unusual for you to wind up facing, say, a Level 35 bad guy/boss but you’re only Level 30… and your available weapons might only be up to Level 25.  So, as I’ve found throughout my Borderlands experience, firepower alone isn’t going to help.

I started the Deck 13 1/2 debacle at a respectable Level 35 – the boss, which I had to defeat twice was Level 38, and my weapons averaged Level 32 and you can imagine that I spent a lot of time respawning because I not only had to face the boss but more bad guys than I could keep track of.  I was running out of money to keep myself stocked with ammo for the weapons it took me a while to figure out would put a dent in the big bad boss’s health meter; my weapons – and I was carrying 30 of them – were proving themselves to be barely effective and everything I tried resulted in a respawning – which was taking chunks out of my available cash as well.  The good thing was that I was still leveling up; some of the bad guys I was killing were dropping better weapons than what I was carrying; so I could sell the ones that weren’t working so I could have respawning funds and to buy ammo.

I was getting closer to defeating the boss every time but my frustration levels were off the chart because I’d get close to offing him… then either get killed in spectacular fashion or make what would be a rookie mistake and get cornered by a flocks of the other  bad guys I couldn’t pay attention to – but I had to.  After two days of getting my ass kicked, I got up to Level 37, just one level below the boss’s strength and, oh, I was doing better… but he was still wiping the board with me.  I died many deaths; once, I took a rare moment of rest and saw that I had maybe four shots left to kill this worst boss I’ve ever faced… and only got in three of the before, once again, having to respawning.

I almost screamed loudly out of sheer frustration; I gently put the controller down – I leaned a long time ago not to throw them – got up, took a piss, drank some water – ate my last doughnut – and said, “Okay, motherfucker, your ass belongs to me; I’ve had just about enough of your shit!”  Two hours later – and somehow managing to not get killed, I defeated the boss, did a lot of fist pumps, shit the Xbox down and went to bed very happy…

Oh, I have to mention that the folks who got me addicted to this game do not have this version (and Borderlands 3 was just announced for a 2017 release) and I’ve been riding their asses to get caught up so they can suffer and have their ability to play the game challenged.  I still need to get a headset adapter but I can still video conference with them on Skype…

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Posted by on 17 May 2016 in Life, Living and Loving


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First, I have no friggin’ idea what “QatQi” might mean or if it means anything.  What I do know is this is a game I found for my iPad yesterday while looking for something new and, hopefully, exciting.  While checking out some word game apps, I ran across this game and both the name and screenshots associated with the app caught my eye and I thought, okay, let’s check this out – how bad can it be?

I love word games and I spend lots of time playing “Words With Friends,” “Scrabble,” and even the now-venerable “Bookworm.”  QatQi (pronounced “cat-key”), however, is unlike any word game I’ve ever played or even seen before and it’s rather addictive, right up until you almost literally wind up boxing yourself into a corner and with a bunch of letters you can’t really use.  Let me see if I can explain the game…

You open the app, which is free on Apple’s App Store (but has in-game purchases available) and you see a multilayered circle, the months of the year within the innermost circle, and the name of the game… like you’re gonna forget it… and maybe if you have an iDevice that’s compatible with this game, you might want to forget the name of the game.  Anyway, there are seven levels in this multilayered, “spoked” wheel, for lack of a better word; each level, for some reason, represents, say, May 5th to May 11th and the seven levels are the days of the week – and this is using the current calendar – May 5th was on a Monday and Mondays are the easiest puzzles to work out and get progressively harder as you move through the week.

The object of the game is easy:  Spell words and rack up the points – you can spell words horizontally and vertically only – but what isn’t as easy as it looks is that you have to make your words fit within random “borders” – I can’t think of a better word but I can tell you that some of the shapes makes playing this game both fun and quite nerve-wracking.  When you successfully use all of your letters – and the amount of letters needed to complete the puzzle do vary, like the one I’m doing now – and stopped playing so I could write this – has 125 letters and, yup, as you use letters, more take their place.   When you complete the round, you’ll see your score and if you’ve allowed the game to know where in the world you are, you’ll see how you stack up with other players around the world, in the US (since I live here), the state I live in, the county, city, and zip code and while I wasn’t surprised that I’m the only player playing in my zip code, I was a bit surprised that I’m not the only person in my state playing this lunatic of a game.

I know I haven’t done a good job of describing this game but you folks out there with an iDevice running iOS 7.0 or better can go to the App Store and read the description of the game and if you wanna test your vocabulary and puzzle-solving skills, download it and give it a try.  The game’s pretty to look at and has enough levels to keep you plenty occupied… or have you reaching for some headache relief.  When I started playing, I was rather tentative because I wasn’t quite sure how to play the game and I honestly don’t remember if there’s a tutorial at the beginning of the game but it didn’t take me long to figure it out and I stupidly thought, “Okay, this is kinda cool – shouldn’t be that hard to do…”

Yeah, I know – famous last words; it didn’t take me long before I got myself into some terrible messes that required me to restart the puzzle instead of using up all of my undos – the in-game purchases give you the opportunity to buy more stuff but if you’re not of a mind to do this – and I’m not – you can get more by either waiting 20-25 minutes or by watching the occasional video about other games to get yourself 20 undos.  I can’t honestly say that I love this game but, wow, it is a lot of fun to play.

Oh, if you don’t have an iDevice, I got some bad news for ya:  There’s no Android version of this game.  I have a feeling that I’m going to be playing this game for a very long time…

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Posted by on 24 May 2014 in Life, Living and Loving


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I don’t know if I mentioned this, but my Xbox 360 succumbed to the three red rings of death, that damned heating problem that Microsoft has never seemed to correct in the 360 models.  So, I gotta fix it and to ease my gaming withdrawal, I have been playing King’s “Candy Crush Saga” on my iPod, my tablet, and on Facebook… and this game is maddeningly addictive.

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a knockoff of PopCap Games’ famous “Bejeweled” game except this looks like a child’s game… but one that requires adult concentration and focus to travel along the levels, completing the tasks given – remove jellies, drop ingredients – and, well, folks, I would really and seriously like to string up the people at King who invented this game and beat them all like red-headed step children.

I have two Facebook profiles so I’m literally able to play four games at a shot; if I run out of lives on the tablet (connected to one account) or my iPod (connected to another), I can sign into Facebook and play some more.

I can’t stop playing this game.  It tests me, it goads me to solve the puzzle; it teases me, letting me get oh, so close to my objective, only to kick me in the gut because I’ve run out of moves and, ultimately, lives.  Like a lot of games these days, you can beg your Facebook friends who are equally hooked on this game for more lives; the game is even gracious at times, letting you know that someone needs lives or is deserving of three extra moves.  They do come in handy and more so when you’ve gone through all of your power-ups and you’re not inclined to pay them to get more… which I’m not.

So I have to solve the puzzles on my own.  I frown, curse, and holler at my devices and I’m of a mind that the creators of the game had parents who were really brother and sister and some of them prefer sexual congress with animals.  As I sit and wait with amazing patience for my lives to respawn, I’m actually running a clock in my head, knowing that every thirty minutes, I get another life back.

I normally don’t pay attention to my iPod or tablet when it tells me I have Facebook messages… but I do now, looking for the magic words that someone playing Candy Crush Saga has sent me a request; they either need a life or a ticket to move on to the next segment… or they’re giving me lives, moves, or tickets when I need them.

The game is diabolical, insidious, and quite maddening; when I complete a level that I’ve been stuck on for days, I feel as if I’ve just conquered the world; I have an odd sense of relief that I’ve put this behind me while looking forward to the next task.

I’m not a fan of chocolate… and thanks to this game, I’ve come to dislike it even more.  If you know what I’m talking about, just nod; otherwise, these… these fucking things will start stealing space from you the moment you make a move and now you find yourself not fighting to solve the puzzle but battling this infernal, space-stealing, move-blocking nuisance chocolate has become.

I hate this game… but I can’t stop playing it!


Posted by on 31 May 2013 in Life, Living and Loving


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