Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snowed in….

So we probably had like 8 inches of snow on top of a sheet of ice this weekend. It was nasty outside; I spent most of the weekend in the comfort of my home. You know how people often refer to going out of their mind from boredom or cabin fever. I can’t relate to that because I kept myself pretty entertained with a combination of wicked awesome movies and playing videogames. I did finally see Avatar, so we will review that film along with one in the home DVD collection that were viewed this weekend. But first the videogames!!

The game I play the most is Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 on the PS3. I love to play FPS (First Person Shooter) videogames; I have loved them since the Nintendo 64 introduced me to a little game called GoldenEye…. Dun nun na na da nun na

Surely you remember this game! It was here that I got my first taste of the adrenaline rush associated with running around corners looking for proximity mines and that holiest of moments when you killed your friend in the facility as he raced you to the bathroom in order to grab the golden gun! There was also the added enjoyment of playing the unsuspecting fool who allowed you to be Oddjob what a rookie! (Those of you who don’t know Oddjob was like 3 feet tall and was impossible to hit.)

I had quit playing games mostly when I was in college, until the summer of 2003 I had moved up to Fayetteville to finish my degree at the University of Arkansas. Some of my friends were getting together on Sunday’s and playing Halo and invited me to come over. I didn’t know it on the ride over there but after that Sunday the weekends would never be the same…..

Before we get started… When the XBOX came onto the market they allowed you to link up your XBOX with other system as many as 4, with each XBOX allowing 4 players you could have 16 people in a match! They had a lot of different game type’s slayer and oddball and king of the hill but the best in my opinion was the capture the flag (CTF).

Ok so as I arrived to my friend Chris’s house there was probably 6 or 7 of us initially and we played CTF games. We would arrive at Chris’s house around 4p.m. and usually play solid until 10p.m. I remember on the drive home that first night I was going through the different levels and thinking of things I could have done differently. That whole week I could think of nothing else but the following Sunday. I took another beating that Sunday that was so bad that I couldn’t stand it anymore immediately went out and bought and XBOX and a copy of Halo was purchased by my friend Casey. I literally went home after work and class every night that week and played the campaign in order to get better at the game. From this point on Sunday’s in my life were dominated I didn’t do anything else Sunday except prepare for what was to be named Geek Night. It was topic of conversation for most of us during the week, you stop referring to people by there real names and started calling them by the Halo name. On Monday’s it was important that I send trash talking text messages to my friends, reminding them of a highlight reel moment that happened the night before! For those of you curious my Halo name is The Nothing… the unstoppable force that destroyed fantasia in The Never Ending Story! (My favorite childhood film)

We had been playing every Sunday for at least a year when I was in class and overheard some guys in the IT group at the University were going to put on a Halo tournament. I nearly broke my neck to turn and ask where I needed to sign up. The rules were simple 4 person team CTF $10 per person entry fee and the winners of the tournament would each receive a $50 gift card to buy Halo 2 scheduled to release later that year. After that we spent the next three weeks fine tuning our strategy and preparing. That Saturday still to this day is one of the best days I have ever had.

I remember walking in to what I would call nerd central! I loved it!! There were probably 12 teams there and everybody was sizing each other up. There was a team of guys called the X-Men each of their Halo names being of course an X-Men character and to top it off each one of them wore a t shirt with there character on it. I swear that is true!

Our team name was the Geek Knights. We won our first 5 games and it was a double elimination so when you lost you would go to the loser’s bracket. The team that won the losers bracket would have to face the undefeated team in the final and beat them twice. Well in the semi finals we played a team called We Aren’t Trying and these guys were trash talkers from the start. They were already talking in the dorm rooms about how no team stood a chance. In their defense they had dominated all the teams they had played. I was so pumped when we finally got to play them!

They made a request when we were in the lobby that we not rush the countdown to the game for fear that it might cause a lag issue, which we agreed to although we didn’t understand. That game they slaughtered us they moved in through the base and wiped us out capturing 3 of 5 flags almost instantly, we tried to regroup and scored 2 flags but they ended up winning the match… I was so furious because they had walked all over us. So we quickly regrouped and knew we had to go into the loser’s bracket.

As we waited for our next match, they did have Monitors (people in charge of making sure you don’t cheat) in each room and since the We Aren’t Trying Guys had made it into the finals they had a by and we fortunately had their Monitor watching us. We were still fuming about the match and discussing what we could have done differently knowing that we would now have to beat them twice in the finals if we won this match. As the match was beginning the monitor asked us, “Are you guys going to set up your timer?” None of us had any clue what he was talking about and he said “Those last guys used a timer in their room telling them when stuff was coming back?” So we immediately begin asking about it…. (In halo there are power ups on every level one is camouflage where you look like the predator so it is harder to see you, and an over shield which gives you double health.)

Well this timer would start a the beginning of the match and would say 10 seconds until power ups are returned, so they could make sure they had the power ups the entire time! That is why the asked for us to not rush the count, because it would start the game early and they couldn’t use the timer. So we explained to the monitor the kind of advantage that gave them. We quickly spread throughout the other nerds that we had been cheated, and demanded a rematch! The IT guys eventually sided with us and we were granted our rematch. The We Aren’t Trying guys told us they didn’t mind beating us again…. Oh man was it on!

In the rematch they quickly scored 2 flags on us again, we decided to travel as a team of 3 leaving one man back at the flag to protect. We charge the base with force scoring 3 flags. They quickly rallied and scored a 3rd flag we were now tied. Instead of leaving one at the flag we decided to go all offense and the 4 of us stormed the base like Normandy and captured a 4th flag. Then as the grabbed the flag from our base just as we had grabbed their flag now we were at a stalemate since your flag has to be at home to score….

So as we were trying to find our flag carrier, Chris who was holding our flag saw the flag carrier walk by him. (Important tip: when holding the flag all you can do is hit someone with the flag and it takes two strikes to kill that person.) As Chris went to swing he missed and quickly backed off we started firing at the flag holder weakening him as Chris made another charge and WHACK! Right in the face killed the flag carrier; he returned the flag and scored the 5th and final flag! Everyone in the room was on their feet yelling! We were so pumped that we had made it to the finals and now whatever team we faced would now have to beat us twice, not to mention we got some sweet justice on some trash talking cheaters!

The We Aren’t Trying guys won the losers bracket which we were so pumped about because we wanted to beat them again. The map was Blood Gulch…..

They set a time limit on this final match of 30 min, so our plan was to score a flag and then just not let them score and just let the time run out, after about 5 minutes we scored a flag and then I proceeded to camp the base…. Which anyone who plays games knows how frustrating a camper is! I smiled a little bigger every time they would send a team mate into the base I was there to greet him with a shotgun blast to the face!

We ended up winning the game and the other team was so frustrated one of the team mates ended up busting his controller!! Ha! Sweet Justice!!! We got to keep the bracket they used in the tournament all the members of the Geek Knights signed it and I have it framed in my home to this day! I love that story! Halo 2 and 3 were sadly huge let downs in comparison to the first game. Designers made the game to easy after that and when it was finally released online the cheating got so out of hand that the game just wasn’t fun. My friends and I still every now and again get together to play the original and we still reminisce about the tournament…

Now to Call of Duty… I spent a majority of my snow bound time with my friends’ online teaching lessons to trash talking 8yr olds all over the planet. People often laugh when they find out how often I play online and god forbid if they overhear me speaking to a COD friend discussing capture points or arguing what levels have the best choke points. I have to admit it is really nerdy but I love it and I always justify it by naming geekier things like L.A.R.P. often referred to as Larping. Live action role playing (Pictured Below…. You’re Welcome!!)

These people are hardcore they dress up as characters in a fantasy world and have battles! That’s right they battle although they have fake weapons and how the point system works I don’t know but they really dress up and fight! My god!! I would love to see that live! I mean check this next group the built a freaking dragon I mean look at that thing!!

Lots of people.. myself included would mock this. I do although have to respect the courage and the… I don’t give a damn attitude these geeks have. They do what they want and don’t hide what they are. Lets be honest most all of you have something nerdy about you, but sadly you hide it… why? Most everyone that knows me would say I am a geek or nerd, but I don’t care, it doesn’t mean they like me less. In fact, I dare say that people will actually like you more because of the honesty you portray of what you are… so come on lets show the nerds some love!! Ladies this goes especially for you if you see a nerd, throw him a smile or if you are feeling really adventurous how about a wink?! I mean really that doesn’t cost you anything but what it might do is make that guy stand up a little taller and trust me, this is coming from a nerd! Enough gaming for today, on to the movies…

As I mentioned earlier I did watch Avatar this weekend and I have to admit it was stunningly beautiful! I have never seen a film that was as aesthetically pleasing as this one. The only issue I can see with the film is that the story is very predictable but that didn’t bother me one bit. I found myself watching that with a child like wonder as to what was around each corner and felt immersed in this world of Pandora. James Cameron delivers 100% to the hype that this film was supposed to be and I would gladly go to the theater and watch it again!! If by some chance you have not scene it please treat yourself and it really is amazing to see it in 3-D.

Green Street Hooligans is the story of Matt Buckner who is a senior at Harvard when his room mate lets him take the fall for some cocaine that was found in their room that Buckner had no idea about. His room mate gives him 10K for taking the fall so Buckner goes to visit his sister in the United Kingdom. He then befriends his Brother in law Pete who is a Hooligan which is explained as essentially a cheerleader for a soccer team, but instead of cheering they fight the other team’s cheerleaders. Buckner gets drawn into this life and the story follows the lessons he learns. It is a really good movie and I strongly suggest you watch it!