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  • Vanberge 4:19 pm on September 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Bioshock 

    I have a pretty difficult time playing multiple video games at the same time…  I like to concentrate on playing through one before moving on to the next.  So with Halo 3 ODST finally out and available, I was desperately trying to get through Bioshock.

    I started playing Bioshock about two months ago.  For me, it’s a bit of a slower paced game that I had a little bit of trouble getting into initially.

    WARNING – MASSIVE SPOILERS FOLLOW.  IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED BIOSHOCK AND CARE ABOUT THE STORY THEN YOU NEED TO STOP READING.

    The premise of the game is very interesting.  I’m not going into huge details because most people who are going to read this already know what this game is.  Long story short; a mad scientist has created an under water city called “Rapture” where he has executed DNA modifications allowing all kinds of crazy shit to happen in this city.  Your character crashes in an airplane and is thrust into Rapture.

    The creepy atmosphere was very difficult for me to play, ESPECIALLY at night.  I am a grown man and I am not embarrassed to say that this game made me terrified.  Playing it, I was always on edge and felt an extreme sense of hyper tension.

    Being a first person shooter, I didn’t have much trouble getting used to the controls.  I played through the game slowly; saving often and always looking for more ammo, guns, health, and eve.  The plasmid system is amazingly cool – but I could never get myself to use the plasmids very often.  I played the game like any other first person shooter, totally concentrating on the guns and ammo.  This playing style came to really hurt me in the end.  I always had tons of EVE but was ALWAYS low on ammunition.  And in the last level I was completely out – which ironically forced me to use only my plasmids and wrench to complete the most difficult level in the game and become a Big Daddy.

    Thankfully the game is not a complete bastard and it let me completely ammo up before the end boss.

    JUST A REMINDER – HUGE SPOILERS.

    The game was absolutely amazing.  Even though it was tough for me to get into the game initially, the story ends up fully immersing you sort of without you knowing.  Before I knew it, I was feeling a personal vendetta against Andrew Ryan and longed to destroy Rapture.  For all the slow-paced gameplay in the early levels (inventing the lazarus vector, etc) – the final act is just completely epic.

    I thought the entire goal of the game was going to be killing Andrew Ryan, Rapture’s creator – but in reality this happens and there are still 4 or so hours of play time left.  Even so, Ryan’s death was just an amazing video game sequence.  He coldly practices his putting while he faces his death.  ” … a MAN chooses … a slave OBEYS …”   Frickin’ amazing – possibly one of the best gaming scenes EVER.  No joke.   Watch it:  short version.   long version.

    After Ryan’s death, you proceed to find that Atlas, your friend and guide through the entire game, was actually Fontaine.  Fontaine has enslaved with mind control and used you to take over Rapture.  And, with Ryan out of the picture there was only one thing left to do.

    The rest of the game was fairly difficult… I was constantly trying to find and buy ammo and I really struggled.  In the last level of the game I actually skipped saving three little sisters because there was no possible way I was going to defeat a big daddy in my condition.  I had to retry the fight with Fontaine one time – but on the second try I whooped his ass.

    The ending of the game was short – but still very good.  And, really it’s a perfect ending to the game.

    I really enjoyed playing Bioshock, even though it took me a good 4 or 5 hours to get myself mentally into the game.

     
    • vanbergs 7:21 am on September 29, 2009 Permalink

      I am glad you finally got around to defeating the game, and as you helplessly watch your character pummel Andrew Ryan and realize why you’re there doing what you’ve been doing, it’s just amazing.

      If I had one complaint about the game at all, it’s that it was too easy. The player literally cannot die, and is just resurrected from the nearest chamber. Made it feel like there was no consequences to running in with guns blazing and plasmids energizing.

      Other than that, it’s easily one of the best games ever. Hopefully the sequel/prequel won’t ef it up.

    • vanlandw 5:39 pm on September 30, 2009 Permalink

      I liked Bioshock but I mostly liked it for all the reasons that will sound insanely stupid.

      First now that you have beaten it I would HIGHLY recommend to go though the Bioshock Wikia. Shit for everygame you have beaten go to the wikia. Halo, GTA. This will show you all the things you have completely missed. At least one article is a complete must read…

      http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Jack_Ryan

      My favorite part about Bioshock is it’s one of the few games that makes you feel like you are somewhere important where something important has already taken place. Most games don’t do a very good job of making a place seem important after the fact. All the little touches and a story that at least SEEMS like they made a full effort to make a videogame for adults and not for the lowest common denominator. If you liked Bioshock for these reasons I would suggest Fallout 3 even though the game play is much different.

      I played Bioshock on ‘hard’ and didn’t have TOO much trouble and while the “Vita Chamber” is pretty much a “checkpoint” like most game have these games the enemies do not regenerate their health so yeah you can grind down all the tough parts minus the final boss. Vanberge said that he played using saves rather then vita chambers that is really a PC gamer way of playing but not a bad idea. I think on the PS3 version you can disable vita chambers actually they might have put that in o the xbox though a patch.

      Regardless I agree with vanbergs I hope pt 2 doesn’t suck I’m glad they pushed it back to 2010. GG vanberge you are on an absolute gaming tear. Thank you for playing ODST with me that was like the most fun gaming I’ve had in a long time brb.

    • Vanberge 6:15 pm on October 1, 2009 Permalink

      GG vans.

      It ahs been a pretty epic week of video games for me. I have gotten to know my xbox very intimately.

  • Vanberge 10:15 am on September 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    General Football Post 

    I would like to take this opportunity to offer some thoughts, hopes, and predictions for the upcoming NFL, Collegiate, and Fantasy footbal seasons

    The NFL
    As the 2009/10 professional football season kicks off, there are a number of things on my mind.  First and certainly foremost are the DETROIT LIONS.  I have been a Lions fan for as long as I can remember.  I love professional football and I grew up in what could only be described as the “prime” of the Detroit Lions.  Players like Herman Moore, Mel Gray, and Barry Sanders made the Detroit Lions an actual decent football team that could compete at the professional level without being laughed at by the entire planet.  I long for those times to return to Detroit; but I’m happy for now just laughing with the rest of the world.

    Some young talent with Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, and Matthew Stafford do present some interesting possibilities for this team – and AT SOME POINT, the lions MUST pick a Quarterback who isn’t a NCAA allstar/NFL Flameout.  It seems the lions have picked up every single college quarterback that just cannot cut it at the professional level – HOPEFULLY in all caps, MATTHEW STAFFORD can begin to break the mold and turn into a top performing quarterback within the next few years.

    As much as I hope for the opposite, I predict Stafford to struggle this year fairly extensively – and he’ll end up splitting starts with Daunte Culpepper.  The Lion’s definitely don’t go winless this year, but they also certainly won’t be a factor.  I predict a modestly awful 5-11 record; just bad enough to keep the lions out of any possibility of a beneficial draft pick next season.

    NCAA Football
    My family has always been a “Michigan” family.  There’s never really been any burning reason for this that I can think of or recall, but it’s been the case starting with my Grandfather.  I usually have a bit more difficult time being a fan of college football for a few different reasons.  First and foremost is the ridiculous bowl season.  Every team in every conference plays in some type of “Bowl” game which is just a disgrace to sports.  I personally couldn’t care less if  Southern Montana Community College scores a last second victory against Northern Maine’s Intermediate School District in the dreaded “Tampax Heavy Day” bowl.

    It’s completely stupid.  I HATE the college football bowl season.

    NCAA basketball has it perfectly conceived.  A single elimination tournament to determine one winner of one championship game.  If the same model were applied to college football, the resulting championship series would be a larger event than the Super bowl.  But, whatever governing body of misguided and un-educated people makes such policies simply cannot see that and they continue to support the meaningless, sponsor driven, rancid, abysmal, and absolutely feces laden NCAA Men’s Football Bowl season.

    Another big reason that I have problems being a fan of college football is the players.  It seems that every standout player that I would start to be a fan of would end up in the NFL the very next year.  The roster turnaround in college is just too fast; and I don’t have a chance to gain a fan attachment for any college players it seems.

    But, that has all changed this year – My first cousin, Ryan VanBergen, is a starter for Michigan’s defense.  VanBergen, #53, is a defensive end that ends up playing most defensive series this year.  It’s really pretty amazing for me to see my cousin on television as a starter for a school like U of M; and this year it has provided me with the fan-attachment I needed to get back into college football.  I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s U of M vs Notre Dame matchup.  It was a great back and forth game which was mostly well played by both teams.  Turnovers, penalties, and officiating made huge differences in some very significant places of the game.  And, in the end, Michigan pulled out a very exciting finish by scoring the game winning touchdown with somewhere around 10 seconds left.  It was awesome!

    I am looking forward to watching the up and coming U of M program under Rodriguez – they run a very unique and fast paced offense that is really fun to see executed.  This year, they’re executing it MUCH better than they did last year.

    Finally, Fantasy fooball
    My fantasy team is pretty solid this year.  I am very happy with the team I drafted:  Tom Brady QB, Roy Williams WR1, Vincent Jackson WR2, Lance Moore/Donald Driver WR3, Michael Turner RB1, Marion Barber RB2, Dallas Clarke TE, and NY Giants as my Defense.   I was really hoping to get Tom Brady with my 2nd round pick, and that did end up working out.  I was desperately hoping to pick up either Randy Moss or Wes Welker as another WR, but that didn’t end up working out.  Even so, I’m working on trading to get one of them.  But, even without that I am pretty happy with my team and I should be pretty competitive.

    Fantasy football will follow some of the NFL trends; so my forward looking trends are as follows:
    I think Roy Williams is going to shine this year with Terrell Owens out of the picture.  Last year he came to the cowboys in mid-season, and playing behind Terrell Owens.  Now with an entire off-season to get work in learning the offense, and “Owens” out of the picture, I look forward to Roy Williams enjoying a 1,000 yard / 10 TD season for my Fantasy team.

    I am also looking forward to seeing what Correll Buckhalter can do for Denver.  He has spent the last few years behind Eagles’ running back Brian Westbrook – So I’m gambling on the hunch that Buckhalter could be this years Michael Turner.  A 2nd string back that can really shine when there’s not somebody like Westbrook in front of him.  Michael Turner showed the world last year that behind LaDanian Tomlinson was one of the NFLs best running backs.  Here’s to hoping Buckhalter reaches even half that status serving as my backup RB and maybe my flex position!

    For the “Worst People Ever” I predict an unfortunate victory by “Mortar and Bones” – But in all reality I’m just being humble.  I think I’m going to win the league this year. 🙂

    In conclusion, this is simply an epic football post – and I am really excited about all the various football that is starting this time of year.  It seems like I get more and more excited about football with each season that comes along.  I love football.  :-/

     
  • Vanberge 11:02 am on September 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Fantasy Footoball Preview 

    This year, I’m looking forward to fantasy football even more than previous years…

    My first venture into FF was just disgusting. The 3-11 record still lowers my self esteem to this day. I drafted as a “Fan” instead of as a intelligent FF owner; and my horrible record reflected that perfectly.

    My 2nd year was a big turnaround – I drafted MUCH better, and picked up some really good players on the waiver wire. Kurt Warner and DeAngelo Williams both just kicked butt for me; which made up for my serious flops of Derrick Anderson and Chad “Ocho Cinco” (still bitter about that).

    My team scored the most points in the league during the regular season; but even with that I BARELY made the post season in 8th place. I was still happy with that; since I was pretty competitive overall…

    We’ll see what happens this year – but I’m making a personal pact to pick COMPLETELY different players from last year. I want a totally different team with no “Fan” based drafting. Bring on Fantasy football 09

     
  • Vanberge 11:51 pm on September 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Grey Matter Theme 

    Today I was browsing through WordPress themes in search of something better than my previous “Panorama” theme…

    I really liked Panorama, but in the end I think it had a little much going on for my taste.

    Enter Grey Matter theme – a clean, simple, elegant theme for WordPress that has the same base color palette that the Panorama theme had.  But, as you can see – much less to it.

    For once promising myself that I was never going to switch away from K2; I sure have been changing themes around alot.

    I’ve got everything pretty much how I want it except for my Pictures page – still a little style.css tweakage to clean that up will be necessary.  But, all the other main components have been updated and integrated to fit with my sidebar/footer/header/page content.

    I really like WordPress.

     
    • Jeffrey 1:43 am on September 3, 2009 Permalink

      Do you like that giant rss icon in the header?

    • Vanberge 4:16 am on September 3, 2009 Permalink

      Actually yes, I do enjoy that lightly colored, moderately sized rss icon.
      😛

    • brotherbergs 4:31 am on September 3, 2009 Permalink

      i miss header photos :'(

    • chouse 10:54 am on September 3, 2009 Permalink

      this is an excellent clean theme. good find. i have been looking for a replacement. unfortunately i am pretty lazy so i’m sure it will never happen. website/blog what?

    • vanlandw 12:32 pm on September 3, 2009 Permalink

      @chouse – clearly you should blog a lot more 🙂 Aside from google reader I’ve been spending about 0 time at FB/Twitter and migrating back more to blogs and news.

      @vanberge – gg on the new theme. I’ve been enjoying the simple themes and designs on blogs recently. I’m hoping soon to have a logo designed for me to put on my page thus why I’m keeping the vanilla theme for now.

      brb

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