Saturday, November 24, 2012

Recent Nerdy "Go-To's"

Do you ever feel like there are certain times in your life where you find pleasure in different nerdy activities? For example, I have observed that many nerds go through "phases" of playing a certain game, reading a certain comic book, or maybe even collecting items such as figurines. Recently for me, I have had more time to embrace my "inner nerd" (hopefully that does not sound completely lame) with a variety of different pastimes that I would love to share.

The following is a list compiling all of the activities that have been taking up much of my time as of recent. As I like to call it, my "nerd go-to's".

1. Reading a good science fiction short story.
Reading science fiction is one of my favorite hobbies. I have not had much time (or drive, unfortunately) to read a novel, so instead I find myself reading short stories. One of my favorite science fiction authors, Harlan Ellison, writes excellent short stories. My most recent read is "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman. This was a rather disturbing story (as many of his stories are) that closely reminded me of George Orwell's 1984, but I would still say it was a great read that captured one of my favorite elements of science fiction, dystopian future.

2. Watching an episode of Star Trek: TOS.
You can rave about TNG all you want, but the original 1960's Star Trek will always be my favorite. I have found myself becoming quite the Trekkie lately, and I embrace this by watching my favorite Captain of THE best crew. Star Trek: TOS never fails to make me smile each time I begin to watch that classic opening to the show.

3. Watching videos of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.
This may be considered more of a guilty pleasure than a "go-to", but I shall bring it up while still on the subject of Star Trek. I recently discussed with a friend the close relationship between Pine and Quinto. I had no idea that the two were actually childhood friends. After watching several interviews between the two, I can see the closeness and it is ADORABLE. (Ahem. I apologize. I promise to not sound completely and desperately lame while discussing this.) After filming the new Star Trek movie, Pine and Quinto had this ongoing joke that the two tried to see who could use bigger and better words in their interviews together. It seemed to turn into some sort of competition, and as you watch the interviews it can become extremely amusing watching the two come up with big, sophisticated words and then becoming impressed with each other.

4. Playing a Matchmaking Game in Halo 4.
Well, this has not exactly been a recent "go-to", being that I am home for the holiday and for some reason Halo 4 refuses to install on my mother's Xbox (that is another rant for another day). Anyway, every night I like to dedicate at least an hour to some "good-ol''" Slayer in Halo 4. This has become so fun that I have not even started the campaign yet (shame on me, I know).

5. Reading Modern Age DC Comics.
This is unusual for me because I almost never read DC Comics unless someone literally pushes me to do so (besides the more popular ones such as Watchmen and Batman: Year One). This does not mean that I dislike DC Comics, per say. I simply prefer and enjoy reading Marvel. (I feel like every comic reader has their preferred company that they enjoy reading more) With that being said, I have recently been reading Green Arrow comics from the 1980's, and I am actually enjoying the stories. I finally read one of his more famous stories, The Longbow Hunters. It was very brutal and dramatic, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I would seriously encourage any comic reader to go outside of their "reading comfort zone" and pick up a comic they would not normally read.

6. Playing Classic Arcade Games.
This may be inspired after seeing Wreck-it Ralph, but I have found myself enjoying some great arcade games. My favorite among the bunch is, of course, Space Invaders. But I have also been having fun playing others such as Centipede, Asteroids, Missile Command, and Tempest. The Atari Greatest Hits app, which I got for free from a great deal some time ago, has become my best friend for playing these great games. After all, it is always expected of us gamers to "remember our roots".

This concludes my list of "geeky pleasures" (I really am trying to be as creative as I can with these names). If you consider yourself a nerd, I would encourage you to look at your habits and try to find what you have been into recently as opposed to two months ago. What has changed? What games are you playing, books are you reading, etc.? It is always fun to see the "phases" we go through as nerds and see what things we really get into at different times in our lives.

Keep on nerding out!

Love from upside down,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halo 4: First Impressions

As many of you are aware, last night was the release of the highly anticipated Halo 4. I was able to pick the game up last night and play it for a few hours.

I will admit that in the past few weeks I have not been too excited about Halo 4. This is mostly because my life has been crazy busy, and all of my gaming excitement was directed toward Assassin's Creed III, which came out so close to Halo 4. I have not yet finished Assassin's Creed III and I plan to finish it before I dive deep into Halo 4. However, I needed to play Halo 4 for a little bit. And, well, after playing it last night I fell in love.

I have yet to play the campaign. I love Halo's story, so I am definitely looking forward to it. However, Halo has also been one of my favorite multiplayer franchises -- so I decided to dive into that first with my friend Dylan. That being said, my first impressions of the game are going to be based on the multiplayer. Here are my thoughts:

  1. I am glad the Battle Rife is back, but I feel it competes with the DMR greatly. Both the BR and DMR are weapons that can be used in Halo 4, which is the first time that has ever happened in a Halo game. I have always been a fangirl of the BR, and it is hard for me to admit that the BR has weaknesses. The DMR is obviously a better long ranged weapon, so I find myself using it more when I play on larger maps. As someone who always views the BR as the "end-all and be-all" of rifles in Halo, it is hard for me to admit that I don't use it in every match I play.
  2. The newly incorporated load out system closely resembles Call of Duty.
    Especially because just about everything requires currency and/or level upgrades (including emblems). For the most part, I like this because I am able to chose which weapons, abilities, grenades, etc. that I want to start out with. I also like how you are able to change your loadout throughout the course of the match.
  3. The Assault Rifle has surprisingly improved. And it is good.
    I never thought I would be able to say that I actually don't mind using the Assault Rifle. While it is not the best weapon, it is definitely an improvement from the past. It sounds cooler, it looks cooler, and you feel cooler when you need to use it. These are all things I never thought I would see out of the Assault Rifle.
  4. The new weapons and abilities that I have seen are impressive.Specifically, I am really loving the SAW gun, which is basically an LMG that wrecks faces. Also, a new ability is the Promethean Vision,  which allows you to see through walls for nearby enemies.
  5. The game just looks really good.
    The graphics have improved greatly from Halo 3, and even from Reach. The first thing I noticed when I got into my first multiplayer match is how beautiful the environment was (and that says a lot because usually Halo multiplayer maps are quite bland). I can only anticipate how good the campaign will look.
  6. Multiplayer, overall, is a huge improvement from Halo Reach.
    I could not get myself to enjoy Reach's multiplayer. This made me worried that 343 would use much of Reach's multiplayer as inspiration for Halo 4. Thankfully I can see more traces of Halo 3 than I can of Reach, and because of that I have decided that Halo 4 will become my new "multiplayer game".
  7. From what I have seen so far, there is no penalty on EXP if you quit a match mid-game, which means there will be no penalty for my rage quits!
    I'm just kidding about this one, guys. (Or am I?)
Being such a huge Halo fan (as I am currently staring at my miniature replica Battle Rifle on its stand and I sleep next to my Arbiter action figure near my bed each night), I can say that I have really great hopes for Halo 4. I am happy that 343 Industries has decided to take on Bungee's successful franchise. They now have  this chick's full approval (not saying that means much,  but I still feel cool saying it)!

And, as 343 reminded us this morning in their message to all Halo players, do not forget to vote today if you live in the United States! There is still time to do so!