Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Most Amazing Thing of All. ...

There was Aaron Boone's blast off Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the ALCS when I was there at Yankee Stadium. ...

There was the scramble by Manning and catch by Tyree in SB XLII

There was Plax to win it for the Giants.

There were the gutty 2009 World Champion New York Yankees.

There was wide right by Norwood
Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!

Those were equally amazing...

Today was the most amazing of all.

My wife put first word/picture flash cards on the floor and asked Grace where the "cat" was. She looked over the cards and picked up the "cat." We cheered. Then we asked about the baby and the dog and one by one she picked them out. It was pretty amazing.

The most amazing thing I've ever seen before.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Entertain Me....with Video Games

Many of you who read this blog know I used to have a long running column about what was entertaining me lately. Well, needless to say that it's been a long time since I've written that column.

While the major reason is that there's a little 11 month old girl that takes up much of my time, a secondary reason is that after my daughter and wife go to sleep for the night I have WAY too many things have entertain me from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. each night. So, needless to say, I haven't had time to come up for air and write the column.

I'm not kidding. Right now I have a pile of 15 video games, 11 books and a bunch of movies too numerous to name that I've just finished playing/watching or are currently gathering dust on my shelf.

I've made a very small dent in that stack, but I'm still coming up for a breath with a new version of Entertain Me. ...This one will just be about the video games I've been playing lately and I'll come back later (probably 2012!) when I'm done with the 11 books that I plan on reading.

Here's a sample of the games I've been playing lately and what I've thought about them.

Batman Arkham Asylum (XBox 360): The latest addition to the Batman video game library is by far one of the best superhero and videogames period that I've played before. It's right up there with superhero games like Spiderman 2 and with some of the great action games like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time to Ninja Gaiden 360.

The story line is engaging, the vocals (featuring Mark Hamill) are outstanding, the graphics are among the best on this generation of consoles, there a ton of easter eggs and "hidden packages - in the form of riddles - to find in the game and the gameplay and the controls are tight and engaging. And it's just a fun game to play.
At the end of the day, the aforementioned things and the fact that I'm a completionist at heart will keep me coming back for more as I try to collect all of the Riddler Trophies, locate all of the game's riddles and achieve 100% completion. It will be hard, but I can guarantee you that I'll try. A great overall game that is well worth your money.

Dragon Age Origins (XBox 360): I'm not like the typical gamer in 2010. For one, I'm not 20 years old anymore. And for another, I prefer a good roleplaying game or -gasp- JRPG rather than playing another dime a dozen shooter.

That said, I do NOT like Dragon Age Origins.

I'm a sucker for Tolkien fantasy and really, really wanted to like the game. Everytime I boot up the disc though, I am completely unimpressed with its gameplay, combat mechanics and the graphics. On top of that, when I'm playing Dragon Age, all I can think about is what else I'd rather be playing; and if that's not the worst thing I can say about a videogame, I don't know what is.

New Super Mario Bros. (Wii): My wife and I haven't communicated this well in years...Kidding honey. While some people might say that this is a rehash of NES Super Mario Bros. with better graphics, it's the multiplayer where this game really shines.

My wife is not a big fan of videogames, but actually asks me to play this game with her. In single player, I'll agree that it's your run of the mill side scrolling Mario game. In multiplayer though, the tension is ramped up and if you don't communicate with your partner every single second one or both of you is likely to fall of the edge to your death. A great overall game.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (XBox 360): I've played only a few of the single player missions in this game and -- as always -- I'm impressed with the game's graphics, sound and most of all intensity of the game.

There's nothing like a Call of Duty game to get your blood pumping and it's definitely not the run of the mill shooter that I mentioned in the Dragon Age review above.

To be honest though, I don't play MW2 for the single player mode, you're not here to read about its single player mode and thousands of gamers agree with me that it's the multiplayer mode that is truly the reason that someone would buy and burn out this game.

Multiplayer in MW2 topples all of the competition - even the vaunted Halo 3 - because of its game selection, character customization and levelling up system. I stay up past midnight way too many nights just to get a better gun. That is truly the mark of not just a good game, but an all-time great game. Highly recommended.

Borderlands (XBox 360): I had absolutely no expectations for Borderlands when I popped it into my XBox; maybe that's a good thing. After playing it non-stop a couple months ago, all I can say is that it's one of my favorite games of all time simply because it is one of the most unique games out there. From its unique cell shaded graphics to the literally hundreds of thousands of weapons in the game, it's a game that I will remember for a long, long time.

Dead Rising (XBox 360): Yes, I know, this game came out in 2006 when the XBox was in its infancy. I borrowed it from a friend back then played it for a few days and stopped around Case file 1-4 because I was so frustrated by the save system and game difficulty. I bought it for $10 a few weeks ago played it for a few days and guess where I am now. Yes, same place I was 4 years ago. I want to like this game. It's still different than a lot of games out there. But it still frustrates the hell out of me. It's worth it for the $10 I paid for it, but isn't worth much more than that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lindsey Jacobellis...

I'm looking forward to the 2010 Olympics. ....If for no other reason than to see Lindsey Jacobellis again.

I will never forget her 2006 Olympic sno-cross final where she had a big lead, decided to tweak her board and ended up falling.

It definitely taught me an important life lesson. Even if you have a big lead , you need to stay humble because if you get cocky, God will humble you instead: