Console Goodness to Look Forward To

The remainder of this year and on into 2015 makes being a gamer awesome. There are some great titles moving in on us and I’m more excited right now for them than I have been in several years. I know, I could have basically just copy-and-pasted multiple pages from a “Coming Soon” list, but I have managed to narrow it down, dadgumit! Right now on my radar are:

Destiny

Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Alien Isolation

Evolve

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

Mortal Kombat X

Super Smash Bros. (Wii U)

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheros

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

Little Big Planet 3

The Order: 1866

 

Maybe titles include:

Bloodborne

Dying Light

Metro Redux (played Metro: Last Light briefly on the PS3, interested enough to play more)

The Evil Within (not sure if I can keep my eyes open long enough to play this one from what I’ve seen on demos)

Like I said, can’t wait for these titles to start releasing. Unfortunately, my wallet won’t be able to support my habits appetite, but we will make the best of it. What are you looking forward to the most? Any particular system going to get all the love with your purchases? I’m going PS4, except for Smash Bros, of course. This is a great time to be a gamer, and it’s about time we have such a great selection to choose from. No matter your system of choice in the coming months, you can’t seem to go wrong.

 

Back in the Saddle Again

This is my first official week back on my fitness plan. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, being sick the past – well, pretty much the past month – has thrown my schedule completely out of whack. As such, the first thing I did Monday morning was wake up, grab a pack of peanut butter crackers and a bottle of water to fill my stomach with, and then headed outside to mow the lawn. After completing the front yard, I stopped and came inside and began preparing our lunch as well as what I was going to take to work that night. After cleaning up the kitchen and feeding everyone and packing away my work meal for travel, I headed out to finish up the backyard. I felt great, had an awesome time at work and was on top of the world!

Then I woke up Tuesday morning and was sore from head to toe. Our yard isn’t huge, I guess it’s about average as far as lawns go, but push mowing the front and back after nearly four weeks of inactivity felt like I’d done a heavy workout. I know, what a wimp, right? I had no idea that was going to happen and felt slightly embarrassed by it. Either way, the damage was done, so I took it a little easier the second day. Now we’re moving into good old hump day, and while I nearly slipped on my eating Tuesday, I quickly adjusted and prevented what could have been a total disaster. I’m not proud of that, just thankful for the thought crossing my mind.

It’s been a good week as far as skipping on the fast food, as well. Cooking at home – though some meals may seem questionable, they’re still within what I’ve deemed good enough for my plan – and taking my lunch for work at night is the key to my particular goals. It’s the at work periods that prove to be one of my two weak points. The second is coming home at night and stopping myself from attacking the pantry to eat everything in sight.

Am I pleased, so far? Yes, but … there is still much repair work to be done and a long road to haul.

My Plans for the Coming Weeks

If there is one thing I never get tired of it’s dreaming up things to do. Right now, for example, I have this grand idea to pick back up my headset and record some more of my little audio blogs. I enjoyed doing the four I actually recorded, but I lacked the motivation to continue them on a weekly basis. Well, my motivation has returned and I now welcome the chance to busy myself with the recording, editing and posting of my little amateur podcast.

Secondly, with my trials and tribulations while on this weight loss plan, I am considering something of a weekly video blog post. A short little five minute or so clip of my issues or successes or thoughts on the dieting process or related topics. This would serve no real purpose but to flash my ugly mug, but I think putting myself out publicly like that might encourage me to work a little harder. After all, each week you guys would be seeing my progress and not just taking my word for it. So there’s that.

Of course, regular readers will know that I’ve made similar claims before, yet not carried through with them. But there’s always the chance this time will be different.

Right?

So stay tuned, Dear Reader, things are about to happen :)

Destiny Beta Play (PS4)

Destiny_box_art

I originally wanted to write a nice long and detailed opinion piece on my experiences with the Bungie Destiny beta. But, as we all know, I’m not exactly a professional in the review front, so I thought I’d just stick with what I know and type something else instead. So welcome to my personal post on the Destiny beta experience.

Through the PS4, with my preorder of the game through Gamestop, I got the early access along with many others. I wasn’t 100% sure I was even going to like this game, considering I’m not exactly the target FPS type of guy. If anyone that has read my blog before remembers, the only reason I picked up the Call of Duty series was because of my son. So considering I got to try it out for a tiny $5 deposit on a game that I could cancel (and with the approval of our wonderful Gamestop friends, redirect that cash toward another preorder, possibly), I figured I couldn’t lose. Better than spending a full $60 and regretting it!

Will I be canceling my preorder of Bungie’s Destiny?

Heck no!

Destiny is a beautiful (I tend to overuse that word, I know) game play experience. It’s rich in story and gameplay depth. The fact that you can play through the campaign as a single player or bring friends along, forming a Fireteam, is a fantastic option to have. And with this being a FPSMMORPG (a mouthful, I know, but that’s how I’d classify it) it delivers on all fronts of that genre. The first person experience is very comfortable to slip in to and I loved every second of it, even when I got my butt handed to me by the AI. The MMO aspect is a nice feature, knowing there are others around populating the world. It’s actually comforting to be out scouring a location crawling with enemies and suddenly have a Fireteam come running in to help mop up a group of Fallen. And finally, the RPG portion, the leveling of your character class and discovering the loot crates, which were far and few between, and also unlocking new weapons and customizable armor are all fun additions to help you create a unique game world to get lost in and invest valuable hours with.

The story, considering this was a beta build, was fleshed out well enough to give you more of a demo feel. Voice overs by Peter Dinklage as your personal Ghost was a bit dry, but Bungie still have another month or so to add more depth to the flatness of the performance. Not to jab at Dinklage, I’m sure he did exactly what was asked of him. The missions were involved enough to set up what you were working for and of the danger coming to the Last City on Earth, protected by the dormant Traveler. Our characters were level-capped at 8 but you were given enough experience to grow your classes powers and get a real feel for what they could do. The skill trees/options were also visible, allowing you to browse what you could unlock as your character progressed. Hovering the cursor over a particular skill allowed you to glimpse changes that the upgrade would have on your stats, such as increasing or decreasing armor, strength, etc. It was all a very nice preview of things to look forward to in the final release in August.

On a personal note, concerning the gameplay and story, that I really enjoyed was the fact that you are playing against your environment. At least, as far as I’m concerned, the actual story mode and locations allow for PVE, pitting us Guardians – a.k.a., the human players – against the enemy Fallen, which are computer controlled. It’s nice to play against an AI enemy, in my opinion, especially in an FPS. That human vs. human PVP action is what I dislike most about games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield and such. You get the extremely competitive players in there and they tend to ruin it for everyone else by going freaking nuts and trying to outgun and outrun each other, taking the fun out of the entire event. That’s not to say you can’t engage with other players, but when you do, it’s as allies working toward a common goal – such as with the random events that can happen at various locations. Everyone will get a notification when an event is happening and a timer will go off. You then have a set amount of time to reach the specified area and join others against a common objective. Work together and achieve victory, and everyone is rewarded. If you should fail, so be it. Go on back to what you were doing before.

Fear not, competitive players. You won’t be disappointed. You haven’t been left out. One adventure I didn’t partake in, sadly, was The Crucible. The Crucible is where you can go and get your fix of combating other Guardians. I know there are at least 6 versus 6 matches within the hallowed walls, allowing players to get in there and battle it out to see who is the best. For those true MMO min/max folks, this will probably also allow them to go all nerdy with the final release and create those perfect builds for character classes so others can follow the same cookie cutter designs. I’ll save all that fun for the folks who like that kind of thing. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on getting in your way!

So as the beta trial weekend wraps up over the next day or so, I have to say that I’m sold. Bungie has brought me into their fold with Destiny and I absolutely can not wait for September 9, 2014 to arrive so I can pick up my retail disc. I’m a fan, hook, like and sinker. What I’ve experienced first hand, read on other sites and watched from other players has given me an excitement for a game that I haven’t felt in some time. That may not be saying much for the hardcore lot, and it may sound odd to the more casual groups, but for me and others like me, we understand. If you didn’t get a chance to experience it for yourself, I hope you are able to gather enough information in the coming weeks to make a decision, one way or another. As for me and my console, we will be answering the call and preparing for the good fight when the call comes.

Be brave, Guardian.

 

 

Fitbit Flex Problem/Solution

I’ve had my Fitbit Flex for nearly 6 months now and have enjoyed using it. It’s pretty darn accurate and the information I can log in my phone as well as the much more detailed website is helpful for keeping track of what I’m doing, where I’m going and how to get there. The Fitbit Flex, however, isn’t perfect. I have found myself experiencing the same issue many folks seem to be complaining about on the internet and message boards across various communities. My Fitbit won’t charge!!

First, I’ll admit that over the last 2 1/2 weeks I haven’t even used my Fitbit Flex because I’ve been sick and haven’t even exercised and certainly haven’t stayed on track with my diet. I’ve gulped sodas like they were going out of style and eaten fast food nearly every day for the simple convenience of it all. That’s a poor excuse, of course, saying it’s convenient when in reality smacking a sandwich together in your kitchen is just as easy as driving up to a speaker, placing an order, waiting 5-10 minutes to pull up to another window, accept your order, figure out it’s wrong, take it back or say to hell with it and move on.

But I digress.

At any rate, during this 2 1/2 week hiatus, my Fitbit’s battery died. Or, perhaps it simply cut itself off, if it can do that. Either way, when I picked it up today and plopped it into the charger, nothing happened. This isn’t the first time it hasn’t charged when inserted into the poorly designed charger. In fact, I’ve had two other occasions when it’s failed to charge right up. In those cases I fiddled with it until it finally connected and charged to at least four flashing lights.

Today was different, though. No amount of fiddling or resetting seemed to be helping. There just wasn’t any life in the sucker. Some one made the random suggestion that I clean the contacts on the charger and the Fitbit Flex. A cotton swab and a bit of rubbing alcohol on the tip and I gently rubbed the ends and wiped them dry. Same to the prongs inside the charger. As soon as I plugged it back in, wham-o, we had contact! The rubbing alcohol seemed to work. I suppose the thing does get dirty with our sweaty wrists so close to the contacts, but still, it seems like the charger would be a little better designed as well. The device does not sit into the cradle very well.

Regardless of their design decisions, I’ve found a – temporary? – solution to my issue with the Fitbit Flex. If you’re having similar issues, might I suggest you try cleaning the tips as I’ve described above. Good luck, fellow traveler, and be safe.