This blog is usually about poker, but gaming is on of my other hobbies and I have been enjoying The Escapist for weeks now. Their recent article, Conquest of Origin, about the trials and tribulations of the once great game development house Origin, was excellent.
Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category
I don’t know if I’ve ever written an uberpost in the history of this blog, but I think this may qualify.
One of the players from my bi-weekly tournament invited me to his own home game. In the 14 months I’ve been running the tournaments, this it only the second invitation I’ve gotten and the first I’ve been available to play at. I suppose no one wants to invite the tournament winner to their own games. *grin* I knew this game wouldn’t be as serious as my usual tournament, so I settled in with a few beers for the pot-limit hold’em tournament. I bounced in fourth after a few hours of not being able to find a hand, but it didn’t take that long for us to to start a little pot-limit side game. Kind fellows that we are, we pushed the two remaining heads-up players from the tournament over to the side of the table so we could play. I ended up with a few extra dollars at the end of the night and would have been up a few more if it weren’t for a particularly painful loss to a set made on runner-runner threes. But it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed not having to organize the thing and drinking a beer or two (or half a dozen).
Of course, like ever other good poker blogger out there, I was also facing 1400 hands at Party to unlock my March bonus. Pretty standard play at the PL25 tables (it takes too long to find multiple tables at PL50) but I also played a bunch of hands at the seven card stud hi/lo .5/1 tables. At first I was playing pretty solidly and booking some small wins, but I started loosening up on Friday and Saturday and managed to dump a 1/2 of my bonus. I made some of it back at the hold’em tables, but I’d really like to go back to making a profit *on-top* of the bonus.
Of course, distractions abounded. On Friday I spent most of the day reinstalling my main machine, which has started to lock up recently. Everything went well, but I don’t think playing on my laptop while finishing the install was a profitable decision. I feel bad for the players who had to put up with my slower than usual play.
But an even bigger distraction was my new PSP which I picked up Thursday morning. Wow. I’d read the hype and was relatively excited about getting my hands on my very own PSP, but I was ready for it not to be quite as spectacular as all the reviews said. Boy was I wrong. The system is amazing. First of all, it looks beautiful. The video quality is amazing and the screen is huge for a portable system. And the games are good, and plentiful, something that Nintendo really got wrong with the launch of the DS. I bought Wipeout Pure and Lumines and the system came with Gretzky NHL, which I haven’t even tried. It also came with a UMD (a propietary media format) of Spider-man 2 and I have to confess that the video and audio (via headphones) quality far exceeded my expectations. I don’t know how successful this new UMD format will be, but as soon as I get a larger memory stick, I will be using the video capabilities of the device quite regularly. My only problem with the system is that it is only a matter of time before I miss my subway stop while absorbed in my PSP. It almost happened twice over the weekend.
I used to be a complete movie whore. My friends used to dread going to rent movie store with me because we always had a heck of a time finding new releases that I hadn’t seen. But over the last few years, I haven’t watched anywhere near as many as I used to. In fact, my movie viewing habits have become somewhat sad. I hadn’t seen any of the Oscar nominated films this year. I corrected that somewhat last weekend I finally picked up a copy of The Incredibles. I’m a huge fan of animated movies and thought highly of The Iron Giant, director Brad Bird’s previous film. And of course, Pixar has yet to make a mistep in its short history. Even with those high expecations, I was still blown away by The Incredibles.
The thing I found most striking about it was the fact that the movie doesn’t play like an animated film. The story is as well developed and the characters as fully realized as in any live action script – a fact acknowledged by the Academy’s Best Screenplay nomination for Bird. The argument between Helen and Bob in the middle of the film was just as powerful a scene as any you’ll see in a live action movie, and better than most. But the filmmakers are also not afraid to take full advantage of the medium and the movie looks beautiful. The art direction and animation are perfect. The action sequences simply shine and are far more interesting and well constucted than any from the action blockbusters I recall seeing in the past few years. I don’t know how they could even put Shrek 2 and A Shark’s Tale in the same category for Best Animated Picture. Shrek 2 was funny enough, I suppose, but it will not stand the test of time nearly as well as The Incredibles. Hmmm…can you tell I liked the movie?
I ended the weekend with a tasty Easter dinner at a friend’s house who was kind enough to invite me after learning I was staying in town for the weekend. I brought a bottle of wine and some Kinder eggs (a personal family tradition) and was treated to a delicious turkey feast. I ate too much, but I guess that is to be expected on a holiday Sunday.
Addendum: Just listened to this week’s Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio and my site was mentioned in reference to an email I sent them a couple weeks back. Thanks Sean, I appreciate the link. Just wish I’d actually had some recent posts up. And congratulations on your 19th show (has it already been that long?).
Second addendum: Ok, maybe it wasn’t an uberpost, but it was still pretty lengthy. And it took me far too long to finish. I had intended to write more about each of the individual topics but by the time I was able to revisit them, most of the thoughts had fled from my head. I will eventually get the hang of this blogging thing.
The blog is once again starting to look like an abandoned wasteland. But I assure you a new post is in the works . It’s just that the new PSP I picked up on Thursday has been a constant distraction. So have Wipeout Pure and Lumines. It also didn’t help that I needed to spend the day Friday doing a complete reinstall of my machine. But I talk about all that a bit more (as well as some poker) in my forthcoming post.
The other night I got the craving to play a little pinball. It’s probably related to the book I’m reading now, Lucky Wander Boy, but whatever the source, it compelled me to dig into an old binder of game CDs for Balls of Steel, a 1997 release that has got to be, hands-down, the best pinball game ever made for the PC. During univeristy many hours vanished into this swirling vortex of ramp combos and bonus multipliers. After a bit of a struggle to get it up an running under Windows XP – the game was released in 1997 after all – all systems were go. It was just as good as I remembered and the hours blurred together as I started racking up high scores on all the tables. Ah…sweet gaming bliss.
Of course, the only reason I was looking for something else to do was that I didn’t want to ruin my great hit and run at Intertops. I booted up three 25PL tables and in only 59 hands I was reminded of the joy that comes when the deck slams you upside the hit. Every pocket pair was hitting a set. Top pair lower kicker turned into 2-pair. JT turned into a nut flush, though in that case I had to split the pot with KJ who hit his T on the river. Sunday I kept pounding my head on the desk asking how A8 could call my pair of kings all the way to the river just to hit his ace. In this session I was begging people to stay in my hands because I kept hitting the stone nuts on the flop and turn. All in all I finished up $97 in 30 minutes. The session was short for other reasons, but when I returned to my computer later, I found that I didn’t want flush my good session down the toilet like I had on the last few occasions. Not often through any fault of my own, but whenever I was working on a big day, I didn’t seem to fare very well. Of course, my objective poker brain understands this is illogical, but that didn’t stop my poker gut from choosing to explore other pastures.
I know this is a bit of an strange request from someone who talks mostly about poker, but I thought I’d put the question to my
small non-existant audience anyways. I’m getting together with a few friends soon for an afternoon of multiplayer gaming (XBox and Gamecube) and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for group of 4 competitive guys to play?
Well, I’ve taken a bit of a break from poker playing – and keeping up with my blog, apparently. After the weekend, I was under the 300$ mark, giving me a loss of 100$ from my maximum bankroll. That’s still 300$ profit, but it has been disheartening taking so many losses recently with only a few 5 dollar wins. But, a lot of it has been the cards, as many sessions I’ve ended up with a 3-4% winning percentage. Not much I can do with cards like that. And of course, I’m not disciplined enough not to start tilting after a while, playing marginal hands. And it’s been bad enough that I’m having problem extracting maximum value from my winning hands. And I can’t remember the last time I hit one of my flush draws.
Also, I had pulled out my starting 300$ from Empire last week and this week I got an email with a deal for a 20% reload bonus, so I guess it’s probably going straight back in to earn another 60$. I was thinking about starting a Pokerstars or UB account, or maybe even a TruePoker account in a vain attempt to get in on the next Poker Bloggers tournament after reading about the first one hosted by Grubby. Of course, to do that I’ll need to start playing and posting a bit more regularly. But with the 60$ bonus to earn at Empire, I imagine that won’t be difficult. I just have to make sure that I don’t lose the 60 in trying to earn it.
So, Saturday afternoon I was looking for a break and decided to download the 7-day trial of the Horizons for a little MMORPG action. Now, my SWG account is still active, but I haven’t played on it for months now. I really should just shut it down and save myself 20$ every month. But, I always think maybe I’ll try it out again after all the fixes they’ve made, say hello to a few people. But I will probably give up the ghost soon, as people are planning on jumping ship to City of Heroes or Worlds of Warcraft.
I actually had quite a lot of fun in my play time. There is a ton of quest content and the crafting system is a lot of fun. And the early level progression is fairly painless with a lot of earned abilities. Only problem is I started in on all the basic craft schools and have been running to many low level missions to earn formulas. I think I may refocus on combat and try multi-classing my warrior with a little cleric to reduce my downtime between fights. That is if I don’t end up playing poker in my free time.
Well, at 7:30 yesterday, we gave up our 20+ hour quest to finish Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. It began at 11am Sunday morning and ran pretty much through until Monday evening with a few stops for food and 7 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, with only 3 players left, we couldn’t get by what we assumed was the end boss. We kept getting paralyzed and bombed repeatedly while trying to get off the cures and lifes that would have kept us in the game. Looking back at it, I should have taken cure, life and one attack spell, filling my last 2 slots with phoenix downs. This would have given me better odds to resurrect the other two. Also, we should have used our deaths to set up some additional phoenix downs for when we were revived, as there was no one to get them on the run. Ah well, hopefully we’ll get another chance.
Running time is 12 hours and 45 minutes and my thumb is killing me. But my Yuke is spell slinging with the best of them. *sigh* I think this solidifies my geek status.