Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Earth 2160

So the past few days I’ve been playing this game called Earth 2160.

First off, I got the game from a website called gog.com (GOG = good old games). The website is designed to sell high quality, but older, PC titles (games you can’t find in the stores very often now) for low prices (6 or 10 dollars). Furthermore, they do so completely 100% DRM free. I think the main reason they have been sticking to Older games is that I know a lot of companies probably would never release their games DRM free on the internet if they were new. Even so they have yet to score a big contract with Activision-Blizzard or EA, so they catalogue is still pretty limited. That being said they have some great games.

Earth 2160 is a RTS game and the 3rd addition to the Earth series. The original two were set on Earth while the United Civilized States (USC) and Eurasian Dynasty (ED) fought a bloody war that ended with lots of nukes and an asteroid setting Earth off its normal orbit with its new orbit setting on a collision course with the Sun.

So… anyways the USC and the ED (along with the Lunar Corporation (LC), a faction based on the Moon) fought for resources, grabbed what they needed and flew off into space. Now they fight each other in Space on planets like Mars and Titan (which, is technically a moon, but whatever). All in all, it’s an awesome game.

The coolest thing about the game is the variety and various tactics you can try. Each race has its own weaknesses and strengths. ED seems to be the most balanced race, with a slight reliance on Lasers, while the LC has high technology and lots of lasers. The USC uses mechs and lots of standard weapons, while the secretive Aliens (did I mention them? No? Well anyways this game has aliens) I believe use lots of chemical weapons. When you research a new technology you can use that technology to upgrade existing units. So if you research RPGs then you can upgrade all your jeeps and buggies to have RPG launchers. Or if you research Chemical Weapons you will now have access to Chemical Cannons and various Missiles.

One of the coolest moments I think I’ve had with the game was in a skirimish against the ED (while I played… USC?) I was doing fine until they research Chemical Weapons. Now my reflective Armor (anti-laser armor) was useless and my units were eaten up. By the time I researched and applied Chemical Armor to my units I had already lost.

As a side note: the campaign is boring. I’m playing it, but the voice acting is TERRIBLE and the plot is horridly predictable. I didn’t realize how good some of the more average story-lines I’ve dealt with are until I’m faced with a truly horrible story.

So, if you’re interested in the game (and paying for it *cough*) then check out gog.com. They accept paypal. ;)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

4him Last Night

Hmmm. So I have a lot on my mind right now, I think I should start with what we discussed in 4him last night/evening/afternoon.

Basically, Steve spoke on a simple idea: “what is God to you?”. We all got into small groups and we wrote down our ideas. Then we put all the ideas on the whiteboard. Things like Head of Household, Bodyguard, GPS, Entertainer, Provider, Mr. Fix-it, and the like were examples we had.

Now, Steve said one very important thing: “many people think of God like a Vending Machine,” and while I don’t, I don’t and I don’t think I’ve treated like a Vending Machine that much (I probably have, but I can’t remember specific instances). One thing that he said is we’ll pray things like, “God, help me pass this test.” And I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever prayed that. My prayers involving tests and exams have never been, “give me knowledge I don’t have,” its always been, “give me the ability to use that knowledge. No freak outs or panic attacks.” (Which I have all the time. In times of emergency I have a tendency to panic and freak out. It’s a bad habit I need to break).

Anyways… that lead onto the idea of pray in general. Why do we pray? Well because we are supposed to ask God for things we want. He told us to. But why? God is sovereign and he already knows what we do or don’t need. So why pray? And it’s a good question. I don’t think I have an answer for it but I think it does have to do with the nature of God.

Why do we exist? The Westminster Shorter Catechism says to “Worship God and Enjoy Him Forever.” I disagree. And I think most of the leaders in 4him disagree as well. We exist to have a relationship with God. In a relationship you communicate. You talk to each other. God talks to me and tells me His plans for my life and I talk to him and ask questions about those plans. He tells me He’ll give me stuff to help me achieve His plans, etc. Even though he doesn’t need to be told that we need stuff or that we want stuff or whatever, God still wants us to tell him because well… in a relationship you communicate.

I think the best thing Steve said during his talk was he asked a very common question, “why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people?” Or at least a variation thereof. Its another question that I don’t think anyone is able to answer. Why is it that some people are born blind and others have better than perfect vision? Why is it that I have friends who are super smart, and others who are average or even below average? Again I can say that God is Sovereign and there are things that we cannot understand because we are mere mortals and don’t have the worldview that God has. But also I think I need to remind people that we live in a Fallen world and until Jesus comes again it will remain that way. God did save us from Hell, but this planet and this existence (weird to say but accurate I suppose) still remains in its depraved state. As such we’ll have trials and tribulations and problems. God made it very clear that, if anything, following God in this life will only make it more difficult (shouldering a cross? Those things are big and heavy!). It might not be “fair” that your brother or whatever had something horrible happen to him or her but God never said he’d make life fair.

So yes… that’s kinda what we discussed at 4him yesterday.

Monday, July 13, 2009


SO I’m almost done my Chemistry Course. Finally. Just about 5 more days of work, and then I’m done. Three days of reading, one of review, and then the final chapter test and I’m free.

So I suppose I should finally say this, but I think, though it has taken me nearly 12 months to do so, that I finally understand Chemistry. It only took me the entire year, but now I get it. I’m not sure what happened, but these last few weeks everything has just well… clicked and I’ve been able to absorb the information at a good rate and understand it all. I don’t like Chemistry, and I still want to avoid all forms of Science while I’m in college (Sorry Brian) but I understand how it works and I have been able to enjoy a few different bits.

Also… I’ve been playing Moo Moo Town the last few days and yesterday I beat the game. Yes, I beat it by mself. Sure it was on the easiest mode and in the end I got an item that granted me unlimited reincarnations (it only took me like 20 minutes of hitting this guy with something like 99% DR) but I did win the game.

On the other hand, I don’t think I’m going to be able to play Moo Moo again for a few days. I spend over 2 hours beating that map and it got REALLY boring by the end.

What is Moo Moo? Well, in short it’s a Warcraft III Custom Map (that is, a mini-game that uses Warcraft III’s powerful map editor to make a different game inside of Warcraft) where up to 6 players face several waves of monsters that attack “Moo Moo” a big giant Minotaur in the center of the map. Each player controls one “hero” and uses gold gained by killing the enemy units to build items that buff your hero. It’s a fun game, even if it takes FOREVER to beat.

Oh, and with the end of my Chemistry will come the beginning of my College Applications. I’ll tell you how those go later, that is, once I’ve actually started them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sims 3

So… Sims 3. Been playing it for quite some time now… maybe like 15-20 hours.

In short, it’s a good game. EA may be the Nazis of video games, but they have managed to, once again, make a solid Sims release. One that is sure to have dozens of “extras” like all the others.

Anyways… so, how to begin?

I’d say that the first thing about the Sims is that each one had a specific outlook, goal or whatever you want to call it. The first Sims was just the basics. You have a family, they get jobs, go to work, meet people, fall in love, etc. The 2nd Sims had all sorts of family tree stuff plus extra relationships, new graphics, and the community lot feature added on from the beginning. The Sims 3 improves upon all these features and adds more. Jobs have been tweaked, as have relationships and the various services (fyi maids are now overpriced. In the others they were far too cheap).

But the biggest change is how the neighborhood works now. In all the old Sims when your sim(s) went to a community lot time on your house lot froze until you came back. This had some advantages, of course. You could go out and play video games at the arcade and get home three hours later all prepped for work, for instance. However, it also had the annoying effect of spending two hours shopping only to come home tired and come to work. In general, it was annoying and I didn’t really like the system.

Not so in the new Sims game. Now, the entire community can streamlessly be visited. Sims can drive (yes, you get your own cars without any expacks) to the park while their children stay home and do homework with the babysitter. Or they can visit friends at their houses, or they can see a movie, or they can search for bugs, or go fishing. You get the point.

On the downside, you can no longer play multiple families in the same neighborhood. At least, after 20ish hours of playing the game I haven’t figured out how to… IMO this is a (sole) step backwards. Part of the fun of the Sims was creating your own neighborhood (you can’t do this either; you’re stuck with one neighborhood, two if you download the extra one) and then filling it with your own sims and giving the neighborhood its own story. Now, you can do that to a degree, and the seamless neighborhood makes visiting and meeting people easier, but its not the same in my opinion.

There are a lot of other little features that I could mention about the sims, but honestly, those are the two things that struck me the most. All I can say is that I think the Sims 3 is better than the previous two releases. That being said, unless you’re a die-hard fan of the game I would encourage you to wait until EA releases some tasty expacks and the original game’s price goes down form $50 to like…. Well $30 or something.

Oh, and on another note, if you buy a pirated version the game will tell you that its pirated. It won’t stop you from playing, but it will ask you to buy a real version.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

CoD 5: World At War

So yesterday I played CoD 5. I played and won CoD 5. Let’s have a moment of silence to realize that this means that it took me like 8 hours to win a game that, should I have bought it retail, would have cost me perhaps $40 dollars (I don’t know what the price is, I borrowed it from a friend).

$40 for that?! No. Just no. I realize that it has multiplayer, but I would never have bought it for multiplayer considering I have CoD 4, which is better. It makes no sense. The game isn’t worth that price.

Anyways… the game itself. First thing I noticed is that Treyarch did attempt to make it a “different” WWII shooter. Instead of the typical Stalingrad/North Africa/Normandy campaign game it had a Battle of Berlin/Pacific Theater Campaign. Both were fun and I enjoyed them. As usual, my favorite campaign was the Soviet Battle of Berlin Campaign. Why? I think it has something to do with me really enjoying running through ruined buildings and killing people. Its fun. Though I didn’t like the Story line that much. It was really… brutal and sad, because the soldiers in question fought for a horribly abusive regime and the sole motivation of your CO was revenge. A boring, horrible motive if there ever was one. I much preferred CoD 2’s story of defending Stalingrad (your homeland!) from the evil Nazis. I felt sorry for the Nazis because at that point they were fighting for a lost cause and they were going to die and have to rebuild their nation, which was in ruins. Russia one the other hand, came out of the war as a Super Power.

CoD 5 added a lot of new “features” to the game. Rifle Grenades, Bayonets, Flamethrowers, Molotovs and possibly another thing I’m forgetting. All of these features were nice, but they weren’t needed. The flamethrower was fun, but… meh. It got boring after the first time I used it. I much preferred using a submachine gun or repeating rifle.

Everything else, the bayonets for instance, were really gimmicky. They didn’t, as far as I could tell, add ANYTHING since you already had a melee attack. If it was better I missed it. I only used Rifle Grenades once.

By far the coolest level was this level where I was the gunner in an airplane shooting Japanese fighters and ships. It was really, really fun. I mean amazingly fun. Good enough to make an entire game about you being the gunner for a airplane. Shame it was so short and easy.

One more thing: none of the characters were memorable. I remember in CoD 2 how memorable the characters were. How I loved McGreggor and Price. Both of them were amazing. I want more of those two guys. CoD 5 didn’t have anyone like them.

I’m installing Sims 3 now, btw. I’ll tell you how it goes later.