Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pawn Moves #4: Fischer's Ghost

An unexpected change of direction. A new plan of attack. A farewell that awakens old feelings.

When I heard about Bobby Fischer’s passing, I was at work. I felt stunned, reading and rereading the article. Growing up, Fischer was basically my sports hero, my Babe Ruth, my Wilt Chamberlain, my Tiger Woods. Even his decline into an eccentric madness didn’t tarnish how I felt about him. He was still, to me, the greatest chess player that ever lived, or at least, lived in my time. As a silent tribute, I took the white king from a chess set I keep at work and placed it, on its side, on the tray of the white board in my office. To me, he was the fallen king.

As if infecting me like a virus, touching that king piece and remembering my feelings from those days long ago got me, I fear, back into chess. This last week I’ve done little else but check out websites for playing and reading about chess. I’ve ordered a new chess computer, dug out old books (can’t find the bulk – they might have been sold – but thankfully, I kept some of the best ones), ordered new ones from Amazon, and bought two new programs – Cyber Chess (a cheesy and cheap looking program) and Fritz Grandmaster Challenge (I always wanted to get a Fritz chess program). Both were $10 value packs from Fry’s so the investment was minor. The new chess computer (sort of a chess dedicated PDA) was a bit more, coming in at $45.

Actual gaming has been somewhat less than the “material collection” but that’s always how it starts. I’ve played one game on Yahoo (someone thought I’d fall for a fool’s mate) and won. A DS game went somewhat less well. And I’ve got a game going on my Kasparov mini.

How long will this last? Hard to say. Probably not going to get much video gaming in while it lasts, but maybe absence makes the controller grow fonder.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fossil Findings #3: Playstation Retro

Lost changes to this post just as I was saving. Damn web editor. Just going to post basics and go to bed. :(

Games Played this Week: PS1

Deathtrap Dungeon - crap
Tomb Raider II - crap
Resident Evil: Survivor - clunky, but fun, like a lot of RE games.
The Italian Job - Didn't know it was a Rockstar game.
Tomb Raider III - crap
Apocalypse - Robotron movie starring Bruce Willis
JP:Lost World - Dino-platformer

opening cinematic vs in-game
ps1 controller - no thumbsticks means no camera control
logitech controller - no directional buttons
PS1 pushed into 3D

From Russia with Love (PS2) - Master Chief in a tux.

Games Bought this Week: None

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fossil Findings #2: Notes work

Can't tell you how many times I tried to come up with new names for this blog entry. Some of the rejected ones were: Notes from the Fossil Pit, Fossil Diggs *wink*, and my truly low point, Gaming to (or with) the Oldies. The name Fossil Findings feels right, at least for now.

I tried something this week that seems to work well - keeping a running entry open and putting in little bits to remind myself what to write Sunday night. Going to keep that up, for sure.

I realized this week that this year will be the first that I won't buy anymore Xbox or Gamecube games. With no new ones being made and my collection containing just about everything there is to get for them, why buy more? As for PS2, there are maybe a few here and there, but I'm not figuring too many. Probably going to be more DS than anything else, with PC second and Wii third. Have to see what the tally is at year's end.

I had some fun this weekend following the exploits of some guys who were trying to play 4 Zelda games (Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess) in 48 hours! Unfortunately, they didn't make it (too much trouble with Mask between lock ups and it being a really hard game), but their "donate to our pizza" fund raised over $1100 for Child's Play!! I can't help but feel slightly envious of these gamers; if I were a college student now, I'd have gone for something like this in half a heartbeat. I'm looking forward to their next attempt.

Games played this week:

Advance Wars (DS) - Started in on this as the new AW:DoR is coming out in a week or two. The DS is the perfect platform for a game like this. And if you can get by the fact the every continent is named for a Greek letter and the armies are all named for colors, it's a fun story lol.

Sims 2 (GBA) - My lunch-time pastime. A very interesting game that is more adventure than Sims, but that's actually a good thing. I named my character Paris and dressed her mostly in pink.

Halo (Xbox) - The perennial favorite to play while Sarah is in the shower. Someday in '08 I'll finish this one. (And why is it I can make one-shot kills on aliens by hitting them over the head with the weapon I'm holding, but I have to pump them full of lead otherwise?)

Games bought this week:

Animal Crossing (DS)- Gamestop had a 20% off coupon and I figured that this was a good game to get with it.

(Almost bought World in Conflict since it was on sale for $30, but chickened out at the register. Alternate history RTS isn't really my kind of game and I already have a ton to play.)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

GotW #1: It begins...

Welcome to my first Games of the Week of '08. This was going to be WCBP, which stood for What's Chessasaur Been Playing, but that just sounded dorky. (Ok, GotW isn't a lot better, but I have to go with something.)

This installment (done on Sunday night now, instead of Monday afternoon) is a bit of a catch up on last year, so more here than usual:

Midnight Club II XBox- Not a bad little racer. Typically tight Xbox controls, GTA style radio blaring, and (strangely) GT style indestructible cars. That last one was a bit of a let down. This was more of a "test drive" for MCIII and my first exposure to the franchise.

House of the Dead III XBox - Wanted to play a bit of quick zombie blasting and went for this sans light gun. It was actually easier to get multiple headshots (all the heads were on the same plane) but much harder to get bonus items and fight the bosses.

Scorpion King GC - Got this a long time ago for the Cube. The movie wasn't too bad and the game got decent reviews. Basically a good experience, but I worry that save points are few and far between. I had to go through a lengthy tutorial, a test, then get several fights into the first mission before I found a save point. Lots of moves to remember. Not the kind of game that is going to be easy to go back to. Camera was a bit hard to control too.

Call of Duty GC - One word: ugh!. This was a console "port" of the fantastic PC game, and frankly, they screwed it up. Crap graphics and poor sound (didn't the designers know what an SMG should sound like? Hint: not like a propeller turning in water) Also, why start with the Stalingrad battle? If this is going to a US audience, why start with the Russkies? Doesn't help in setting the mood. This is one game I could get rid of and not miss.

Final Fantasy X PS2 - My "AAA" Game of the Month. Just got into this (about 1 1/2 hours). I forgot I played a little of the beginning in a demo many years ago. This is one pretty trippy game. Battles aren't really random, which is good, but starting the game with something like 300+ hit points makes you feel like you are playing someone else's character that they started.

Gametap - I got around to playing on Gametap this week and I think I'm hooked. I don't know how they can do what they do (allow users to download games from a library of 70+ free ones, or a giant library of others for $5-$10 a month). I also don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing for gaming. Basically, you only get to rent games (you can buy them, but it's relatively expensive). On the other hand, games that "died out" years ago have been given new life. And the interface is impressive - if the game plays in full screen mode, you'd never even know you were on Gametap. I've been into the free ones (tried Daikatana and found out just how bad it was, but found out good Cannon Fodder was) and might go for the 1 year deal for $60. Not "cheap", but the same I would spend on 3 games at my magic price point.

Oh, and speaking of spending, I did a little math on what I dropped last year on games - just games, mind you. Not controllers, guides, etc. Also, I excluded games I bought as gifts for Sarah and didn't figure in ones I bought on eBay. The total came to basically $2000! OMG!