Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Review: Campus Legend mode in NCAA Football 08

So I recently picked up NCAA Football 08 for the Xbox 360. Normally I just dig right into the dynasty mode expecting to lose a few games learning the particulars of the game engine, but this time I started by trying out some of the other features. First I tried the minigames of Tug of War (you get 1 play to move the ball and then the opponent gets the same, first to touchdown wins) and also Bowling (10 yards to goal, each yard is a pin with two shots at the end zone).

Next I moved on to Campus Legend Mode. And to be honest it is good enough that I have not left it. First you start out by designing a player and picking a position for them. Next you select your home school and state (high school that is) and you get put right into the high school state playoffs. I picked ROLB to start with figuring that defense is a good place for me. So first off, the only person you can control is the player you have created, so many plays are just not going to involve you. Although there is a lot more pressure because when you blow a coverage or tackle you can't switch to another nearby player to make the tackle. Once you have completed the high school playoffs, you have to select the college that you want to go to. In my case I picked Penn State because I would not be a starter, but I also wouldn't be 3rd string.

Your college career consists of 2 things per day. First is practice where you get 10 reps at various plays (coach calls all plays in both practices and real games). When you make a play it is worth points. These points eventually will earn you a spot on the starting line. For me, I earned my starting spot right before the 3rd game in the season. The different strings make it interesting in the game as well. When you are second string, you are hoping for a blow out so that you can get some field time other than on special teams, where as you hope for a close one during regular play.

One of the nice things in this mode, and frustrating is that the games tend to be really short. This gets a tad annoying as the load times in this game are incredibly long. Another drawback to this mode is that you may play your heart out and do an incredible job, but the team could still lose because the other half of the team is unable to get the job done. Besides the long load times, I have also seen a lot of very screen stutters and lots of xbox 360 fan and drive noise. Just seems to be slightly too intensive.

Graphics wise, this game is good, but not really something you are going to shout from the mountain tops about. Sounds are incredible and after 9 games, I can't complain about the announcers yet. So with all the problems, I still give this game a must buy for Football fans. It is just as fun as it's previous versions (I have played NCAA 01, 04, and 05).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Review: Harry Potter 7

I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) yesterday and have been mulling over how I was going to give this review without giving anything away. I am pretty sure I can do, but really don't know if this will be at all useful.

I found this book to be on par with the most recent set of books in the series written by J. K. Rowling. As I read through we went through slow portions (about 150 pages in the front half of the book) as well as areas completed chocked full of action and critical events. Reading through, I found there were many times that I could not stand any of the characters and other times where the characters would do endearing things things and I really appreciate that as it gives the main characters some depth of making their own mind instead of being the saints that everyone thinks they are. If I had to fault any of the time spent on the characters, it is the lack of Draco Malfoy. His character is missed in much of the book as the previous antagonist, playing completely second fiddle to the unadulterated evil of Voldemort. In fact you spend so much time with the main three that you might even get a little tired of them.

So in the end, this is a fitting conclusion to a series that bordered on serious and silly, but created a rich world that you could almost believe in.

Google Tech Talk: Inbox Zero

Basically a method of not living your life out of your email inbox and instead start creating systems to run your life (less detraction...)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter 7

Unlike the majority of folks who have purchased Harry Potter 7, I have not completed it yet. But so far it has been an enjoyable read, but I do have some criticisms. So far, I have noticed some pretty wild fluctuations in the intelligence of the characters and/or assumptions by the author of the intelligence of the readers. To be honest, I think J. K. Rowling did better with the younger books as they were tight and focused.

That being said, it isn't a bad book. Just I have recently read a bunch of books that have been written better, so I think my bar has raised a bit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

PAX here I come

Yesterday, my tickets to the Penny Arcade Expo arrived with there usual set of game advertisements. Heading into my third visit to the Expo I am pretty excited. I will miss their previous location at Meydenbauer hall but I think the bigger venue is also a good thing.

Yeah!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lions ranked above Cowboys

And it could be the biggest insult around, according to one blogger. I love the parity of the NFL but there seems to be a rather large range of parity.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

See ya Parents...

Well two weeks with my parents is at a close. Even thought the title of the post may not seem like I enjoyed it, I really did. We went out and did things. Ate well. Just spent time talking. There were a couple of extra hands to handle Miranda. Overall it was pretty cool and I can't wait for more family to visit.

They also went out and spent a couple of days on the Olympic Peninsula. They took some gorgeous photos while out there. Definitely looks like I will take a trip out there to stay the night some time. Just would be nice to do.

miranda with Grandma and Grandpa D

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Detroit Lions 3-13 again

I saw a blogger wrote about the Lions upcoming season and I really can't flaw the logic. Somehow I wish the Lions would pull their record up above .500 but like a child punished for exuberance, I just can't seriously think they will ever top 6 wins.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

1 hour with Forza 2 for Xbox 360

So far, I have put about an hour into playing Forza 2 on the recommendation of JOT3. I tried the demo and really, really didn't like it, but Jim was very persistent that it really was a good game. I found the demo to be very heavy on the simulation side and lacked the learning progression of dealing with a games physics engine. However this is not the case in the real game. The real game has enjoyment built in from the get go. The physics are heavy simulation but you are eased into the game with easier AI drivers and with slower cars. Plus at some level you can tweak the tuning of the car to more fit your driving style.

The car and driver level progression is pretty neat. Access to better parts and cars is always fun. So right now, I give this a definite must play, as I really want to take the day off of work and play.

Though this should be a note to the developers, don't create a demo that could potentially turn off a segment of the buying population unless you are accurately representing the game...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Long time in posting

We've been a tad busy of late. My parents arrived in town last Saturday and we bummed around the first day. To be honest, I don't remember what we did on Saturday. Probably bummed around some more. Although Saturday night, we had our first real boo-boo for Miranda. She was running around and tripped on her feet and fell into the magazine rack. Split her lip open, but a little soap and water with a dose of a Popsicle and everything was all right.

facial mishap_3

I had to work on Monday and Tuesday but everyone else headed out to Saltwater park and also the Weyerhaeuser Botanical Garden. Don't have any pictures loaded of this yet.

Wednesday, we sat and enjoyed the fabulous weather we have been having playing with Miranda outside and in the water. I grilled some salmon along with green beens and asparagus. Unfortunately I took off a good portion of my arm hair in the process. I think sometimes I just have bad luck with fire.

miranda on the fourth_5

And finally yesterday we made out way down to Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Miranda seemed to have a great time, although I think she spent more time staring at the other kids than looking at the animals. We got a couple of shots of the zoo. I really do recommend it. It is small but really the perfect size for anyone with kids. Later one we headed to the Supermall in Auburn and then called it a night.