After a couple of weeks of searching the local GameStops for NHL 09, I finally decided to just go ahead and pick up a copy at Best Buy a couple days ago (Sunday, 1/25). I’m figuring there’ll always be something else to pick up at GameStop so I’ll probably finish up the couple bucks I have left on my gift card sooner rather than later. In the meantime, the hockey game itch just became too great and I had to do something about it. Turns out the game’s just as cool as everyone makes it out to be. Skimming over some forums it sounds like the online play is riddled with cheaters, but that’s the case with damn near every online multiplayer game since the dawn of time. This doesn’t bother me, though, as the only game I play online (Team Fortress 2) has been cheater-free in my experience (I’m sure there are cheaters, I just haven’t run into ‘em in probably something around if not over 100 hours of playtime, nor have I really even heard much about them). Anyway, I digress. One of the coolest things about NHL 09 is the “Be A Pro” mode, in which you create a character and start him out in the AHL and have to work your way into a stint in the NHL. It’s a pretty interesting mode, as you’re literally playing that character only. When your shift is up you skate back to the bench and watch the action from there. When you take a penalty you’re staring through the sin bin glass back at your team’s defensive zone hoping that you didn’t just cost a goal. There’s no switching control to another character, and trying to be a hero will only end up keeping you in the minors as your coach is not going to be pleased by your lack of teamwork. Honestly, I haven’t played anything but “Be A Pro” since I got it and so I can’t really comment on much else. There is an interesting feature in which you can save and upload videos and screenshots from your instant replays to be viewed on EA Sports’ site. You can see my character Turd Ferguson‘s first goal here. Not very impressive, I know, and it goes too quickly to even properly see me one-time it in, but I wasn’t interested in actually providing a quality video… I was interested in getting the 50-point Achievement for simply uploading any video.
Now, none of this directly helps or hinders my progress, since as I mentioned before, sports games don’t go on the list in the first place, but it’s probably dangerous to have such an awesome game around to suck up time that could be spent on pieces of crap like Hotel Dusk that I really need to get cleared off my list. I decided the other day to give that game another shot and immediately regretted it. I bought into all the hype around Hotel Dusk when it was coming out. Everyone said “oh, it’s great!” or “the story’s so good!” or some other crap like that. I like a good story in a game, so I figured I’d pick it up and see what everyone was talking about. I played it for literally half an hour back then and couldn’t take any more, closing it up for about two years before attempting it again now. The problem here is that with all the hype, everyone forgot to mention that it’s boring as hell and all the characters are unlikable. I’m gonna have to just slog through, but man is it gonna be tough to put up with this for however many hours it’s going to take.
Back to news unrelated to the project proper, a writer on Tor.com is running a bloggy re-read (Warning! Thar be spoilers!) of the entire Wheel of Time series in anticipation of A Memory of Light‘s presumed Fall release. I read the first three installments of this re-read (well, I didn’t quite get through the third part at work today, but close enough) bringing the recap up to about the mid-point of The Eye of the World. The thing is, as I was reading through this I started to get nostalgic for the time when the series wasn’t terrible (which I suppose isn’t really fair… the most recent book, Knife of Dreams, was actually really good). So I started discussing the series with a friend at work who brought up the game and immediately set about trashing it. I had very fond memories of that game and put up a spirited defense. Regardless of how the conversation went from there, the final result was that I ended up with a serious jonesin’ to play it again. Once I got home from work, then, I did some digging for the CDs, installed it, and started playing. Being based on the original Unreal engine, the graphics obviously don’t exactly hold up, but I was impressed to find that it was more than willing to display at my monitor’s full 1680 x 1050 resolution, as a lot of older games tend to balk at widescreen settings. I didn’t get far into the game with the little bit of playing I did tonight, but it’s a nice thought that I can fire it back up any time. Just like with NHL 09, it’s not going to do my List any favors, but hey, this blog’s about games, which are about having fun. There are enough games on the list that are going to be a chore to trudge through (I’m glaring at you, Hotel Dusk), it’s only fair to my sanity that I throw in some extra fun bits like this.