Revisited – Christ, the Coliseum, and Violence

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This is one of the first pieces I ever wrote for another site (back in 2013). Still love this scenario. The Assassin’s Creed series is often the Adventures in Odyssey equivalent of the Imagination Station

I left Christ in the Roman Coliseum; I left him to die.

Carefully scaling the Coliseum walls, I slowly made my way towards my first targets: three would-be snipers. Quietly, in succession, I stealthily stabbed each in the back. Not one of the snipers knew of my existence. I am the wind, the shadows, the reaper of death. I am justice incarnate.

My second target: saving the actor playing Jesus Christ in a play. The irony of a Passion Play in the Roman Coliseum does not escape me. Who knows how many Christians fought for their very lives within these walls? Some believers even torn to shreds by lions for the amusement of Nero and the people. I shudder in disgust and then slip on the disguise of a Roman soldier. Christ awaits my saving grace.

Events quickly unfold in a way I could not foretell. The actor playing Christ has been drugged! I effortlessly scoop him up as Borgia men flood in from all sides of the Coliseum. My mission: get Christ to a doctor. Holding him, I can clearly see his crown of thorns and the fake blood smeared on him. I know his only hope is a cure beyond the battle ensuing around me. Suddenly, the world grinds to a stop.

– Reality Confronted –

If you haven’t guessed, my PS3 locked up as I was escorting the drugged actor to a doctor. I was frustrated. A day has since gone by and I have yet to try again. My wife reminds me that it took Christ three days to resurrect, so why not give the game a rest? My conscience is restless. Nine hours of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has left me with questions. I find myself questioning the digital bodies I have left de-rezzed; I find myself questioning what I am learning about life, beyond the fact that assassinations from the air look awesome. Perspective is everything.

I know that at the end of the day I will return and continue my “historical” Roman adventure. But I want to keep in mind that violence is reality based. Violence is also something that is worshiped within American cinema and culture. I believe that the reason on-screen violence resonates with people so much is due to the fact that it is usually carried out in the pursuit of justice. The Bible says this though:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19 (NIV)

and this:

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

I realize that Ezio’s actions in Brotherhood are simply a part of a fantasy world. I also realize that God is an avenger and a dealer of justice. Though I know that the worlds of fantasy and reality can sometimes blend, I want to be mindful of who and what I am allowing to shape my soul. So God help me.

Building The Perfect PlayStation 3 Library

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PlayStation 3 Logo

Just as Jor-El knew that Krypton’s days were numbered, I too can see the end of PlayStation 3 games being available for purchase. Below you will find a list of all the PlayStation 3 games I have owned/played. Are there any games missing from this list, that you would recommend, that I should hunt down and acquire? The perfect PS3 library must be built.

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Assassin’s Creed II
  • Assassin’s Creed II: Brotherhood
  • Assassin’s Creed II: Revelations
  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Bit.Trip Runner 2
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Dragon Age Origins
  • Dragon Age 2
  • Ducktales Remastered
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Flower
  • Guacamelee
  • Journey
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  • Lego Lord of the Rings
  • Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Little Big Planet
  • Mass Effect Trilogy
  • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
  • PixelJunk Eden
  • PixelJunk Monsters
  • PixelJunk Racers
  • Quantum Conundrum
  • Rayman Origins
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Risk Factions
  • Shadow of the Colossus HD
  • Skylanders Giants
  • Skylanders SWAP Force
  • Skyrim
  • Thomas Was Alone
  • Uncharted Trilogy
  • Wheel of Fortune

Christ, the Coliseum, and Violence

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(Bryan Note: This essay was originally published over at TheologyGaming.)

I left Christ in the Roman Coliseum; I left him to die.

acbrotherhood

Carefully scaling the Coliseum walls, I slowly made my way towards my first target: three would-be snipers. Quietly, in succession, I stealthily stabbed each in the back. Not one of the snipers knew of my existence. I am the wind, the shadows, the reaper of death. I am justice incarnate.

My second target: saving the actor playing Jesus Christ in a play. The irony of a Passion Play in the Roman Coliseum does not escape me. Who knows how many Christians fought for their very lives within these walls? Some believers even torn to shreds by lions for the amusement of Nero and the people. I shudder in disgust and then slip on the disguise of a Roman soldier. Christ awaits my saving grace.

Events quickly unfold in a way I could not foretell. The actor playing Christ has been drugged! I effortlessly scoop him up as Borgia men flood in from all sides of the Coliseum. My mission: get Christ to a doctor. Holding him, I can clearly see his crown of thorns and the fake blood smeared on him. I know his only hope is a cure beyond the battle ensuing around me. Suddenly, the world grinds to a stop.

– Reality Confronted –

If you haven’t guessed, my PS3 locked up as I was escorting the drugged actor to a doctor. I was frustrated. A day has since gone by and I have yet to try again. My wife reminds me that it took Christ three days to resurrect, so why not give the game a rest? My conscience is restless. Nine hours of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has left me with questions. I find myself questioning the digital bodies I have left de-rezzed; I find myself questioning what I am learning about life, beyond the fact that assassinations from the air look awesome. Perspective is everything.

I know that at the end of the day I will return and continue my “historical” Roman adventure. But I want to keep in mind that violence is reality based. Violence is also something that is worshiped within American cinema and culture. I believe that the reason on-screen violence resonates with people so much is due to the fact that it is usually carried out in the pursuit of justice. The Bible says this though:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19 (NIV)

and this:

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

I realize that Ezio’s actions in Brotherhood are simply a part of a fantasy world. I also realize that God is an avenger and a dealer of justice. Though I know that the worlds of fantasy and reality can sometimes blend, I want to be mindful of who and what I am allowing to shape my soul. So God help me.

Off Campus: Bryan is over at Theology Gaming today. Come visit!

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Theology Gaming

“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure” ~ J.K. Rowling

Every story has to have an inciting incident. A moment that propels the protagonist to respond with action. No matter the greatness of the action however, forward motion is key.  Click here to read more

Surf Report – 5/6/2013

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Surf Report

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

Ever since I can remember, my wife has told me that her dream was/is to be a stay-at-home mom. I knew this before I married her. This spring, after 8 years of teaching–I don’t know if she’ll ever know how proud I am of her–, we started praying over whether she should continue teaching or not. A few months later, the deadline for her contract renewal came up. We had to make a decision. Oddly, we both felt like she needed to stay home with our son. Now, what is odd about this is that we both crave comfort; we both crave the security that her job provides. Well, we ended up deciding that she won’t be teaching next year. This means big changes for the Hall household.

Last night, my pastor mentioned the above “balance beam” sermon by Francis Chan. Even though I have peace over the decision my wife and I made, I still feel like I have been desperately clinging to the balance beam of life. Not wanting to let go of the safety and comfort the balance beam provides. Sure, I’ll let go and tell God that he can have my stress, fear, and worry. Almost immediately though, I grab back onto the beam.

Following Christ is all about stepping out of our comfort zones. I know this. I don’t want to live a life of sheltered/calculated risk. I want to go and do what God is calling me to do…even if that means moving forward and letting go.

I don’t want to go where the majority goes…

.: Life :

See above.

.: Gaming :

I went out and bought 3 games on Saturday:

  • Trauma Center: Trauma Team (Wii)
  • Dragon Age 2 (PS3)
  • Metroid: Other M (Wii)

Trauma Center: Trauma Team – My wife and I fired up the Wii and immediately dove into surgery–once we figured out how to set up the controls for co-op–. Overall the game looks and plays like a Trauma Center game, no surprise there. I’ll keep ya’ll posted on this one.

Dragon Age 2

Dragon Age 2 – I am not the biggest fan of Dragon Age Origins. Origins is one of those games that I really want to like but just can’t seem to get into. Dragon Age 2, on the other hand, has been pretty awesome so far. I love the fluid magic system (I’m playing as a mage) and the character interaction. DA2 plays more like an action game with RPG elements versus DA1, which was an RPG with action elements. The $10 price tag makes the game even more awesome.

Metroid: Other M – Universally hated by reviewers due to it’s portrayal of series protagonist, Samus Aran. Metroid: Other M, features tight gameplay mixed with cutscenes that depict Samus as a girl with daddy issues. The disconnect between the Samus portrayed in the cutscenes versus the Samus I’m playing in the game is jarring. We’ll see if I keep going. My Wii’s disc drive was making some pretty crazy sounds while I was playing. If the Wii fails, this will be the second time I’ve had to send it in for repairs. Lame.

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That’s it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

Stargazing

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Sundays are always long days for some reason. This past Sunday was no different from any other, except I took my son on an adventure.

The sun had long set when I asked my 3 year old if he wanted to go outside. He had been sitting on the couch playing Learning with the PooYoos on the PS3. He quickly said yes and scrambled to get his shoes on. Wanting to know what we were going to be doing, I told him that we were going on an adventure. So we grabbed our flashlights and headed out into the dark backyard.

Trees transformed into monsters; shadows danced along with the flashlights. We walked around the backyard on our adventure, checking out different nooks and crannies. It was then that I had an idea, so I ran back inside the house and grabbed the iPad.

*Photo by HubbleColor {Zolt}, Creative Commons

Coming back outside, I set a chair out in the middle of the yard and we sat and stared at the sky. I showed him where different planets were thanks to the Star Walk app. The entire time you could almost see the gears in his brain working overtime. He kept asking questions, wanting to know if we could breathe on Mars. He asked me if there were robots on Mars. I told him yes. He grew very concerned when I told him that we had left a robot or two on Mars due to their batteries dying. Later on, when we went back into the house, he asked his Mom how we could get batteries to the robots. Apparently robots are cooler than planets. I should know that.

Assassin’s Creed III: Shifting Emotional Gears

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Note: The following contains spoilers regarding Assassin’s Creed III. Turn back now if you have yet to play this game. You will thank me. I promise.

Three hours into my Assassin’s Creed III play-through, I finally came across the emotional meat needed to sustain my gaming appetite. Up until this point, I had been playing through what I now know was a three sequence long prologue. Using Haytham Kenway as the player’s gateway into the world of ACIII was genius if not jarring. After months of seeing the protagonist Connor’s face splashed across multiple web sites and magazines, my initial reaction to Haytham was a resounding, “huh”. Why am I not playing as the awesome looking assassin on the front cover of the game? Who is “Haytham Kenway”? Time certainly did reveal that all along I was playing as both Connor’s father and as a much hated Templar–plot twist!–.

I was excited to finally play as Connor last night. His story seems to be fueled by revenge, much like Ezio’s story in ACII. How this The Patriot meets Pocahontas/The Last of the Mohicans mash-up plays out remains to be seen. I will be back.

The Colossus of Patience

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I do not consider myself a patient man. I do not like the journey. I would much rather instantly arrive at the destination fully equipped to do what needs to be done. Perhaps this is part of my nature being a first born child? I can tell you though, that life is all about patience; life is all about the journey and waiting.

Recently, I’ve been playing through Shadow of the Colossus on the PS3. The game is about taking down monolithic giants in order to save the girl you love. Each of the giant’s deaths brings you closer to the day when she will awaken…or does it?

In defeating these in-game giants, I am slowly being taught patience. The game demands that you study your enemy. That you know how the colossi move, where their weaknesses are, etc. In learning about each colossi, the player eventually learns how to climb and annihilate each of them. Climbing is no easy task when you are climbing up a moving skyscraper. This is where the aforementioned patience comes into play. As the colossi moves, the player has the potential to lose grip and fall. If you get greedy, your greed will be rewarded with having to re-climb the colossi again. Sometimes climbing these creatures is easy; othertimes the experience is the worst thing in the world.

I never thought I’d have a video game teach me about patience. So far though, Shadow of the Colossus has done just that.

The Walking Dead: Episode 3 Impressions

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This past week, I downloaded and beat Episode 3 of The Walking Dead. Episode 3 reminded me once again that the series is often a hard pill to swallow. Excellent character development and story is stirred in with harsh language and gruesome violence. While I love finding out what is going on with different characters, I hate having to sit through the rancid profanity that often feels completely out of place.

As a kid, I remember Halloween being a time of having lots of fun and racking up insane amounts of candy. At the end of the night, my parents would sift through my candy, checking to make sure everything was “safe”. Apparently during this time there had been a scare due to someone placing razor blades within the Halloween candy itself. This random childhood memory is exactly what The Walking Dead series of games has turned out to be: An amazing sugar-coated outside filled with a potentially deadly center.

As a Christian, I go back and forth with myself over the things that I consume. I know from experience that what I take in eventually finds its way out. I have always evaluated what I consume by the following 1 Corinthians 6:12:

“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

How about you? Even if you aren’t a Christian, do you evaluate what you consume media-wise?

Date Night Idea: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

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About a week ago, my wife surprised me with a date night filled with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. We had a blast figuring out puzzles and blowing away spiders and other creepy crawly things. Our fun came to an end, however, when a summer thunderstorm rolled through. With the power flickering and almost killing the game, we decided to call it a night. So we watched the lightening outside instead!

If you have never heard of this game, picture a co-op puzzle-filled adventure through tombs and other exotic locals. The competitive/cooperative nature of Guardian of Light makes it a great choice for a fun date night. $15 is the price of admission via PSN.

Papo & Yo

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From Minority Media’s site:

Papo & Yo is the story of a young boy, Quico, and his best friend, Monster. Monster is a huge beast with razor-sharp teeth, but that doesn’t scare Quico away from playing with him. That said, Monster does have a very dangerous problem: an addiction to poisonous frogs. The minute he sees one hop by, he’ll scarf it down and fly into a violent, frog-induced rage where no one, including Quico, is safe. And yet, Quico loves his Monster and wants to save him.

Last night I downloaded the demo for Papo & Yo on the PS3. I had read a fair amount about how the game was based on the developer’s abusive childhood, at the hands of an alcoholic father, and I wanted to see how that translated into the game.

While the game featured an interesting aesthetic and puzzles that made me grin, I was bothered by the shoddy controls and poor level design. Not to give anything away but the demo ends on a tense note. I literally found myself wanting to buy the game despite my thoughts on its overall design. After going online and reading some reviews, which sadly turned me away from the game, I decided not to take the abusive journey with Quico.

For some reason, perhaps it was the sparseness of the level design, Papo & Yo reminded me of Ico. Ico was a game that I didn’t necessarily love but appreciated. This reminder then got me thinking about how I had never played Team Ico’s other game, Shadow of the Colossus. So, on a spur of the moment purchase, I bought Shadow of the Colossus off of PSN. Hours later, I was playing the game.

Shadow of the Colossus has a NeverEnding Story feel to it. I love it! Will write more soon.

A Worthless Journey

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” What happens though when the journey is beautiful but mundane and the destination turns out to be a complete waste of time?

This past weekend I journeyed through the lands of Journey on the PS3. When all was said and done, I had no clue what had just happened or what I had just played. So, I took to Wikipedia to make sense of my experience. The Wikipedia entry only confirmed my suspicions that not much had just happened. To further illustrate this, the following is a quote from the developer’s web site:

Journey is an interactive parable, an anonymous online adventure to experience a person’s life passage and their intersections with other’s.

I can admit that I thought it was cool to travel across the desert, plunge into the dark depths of despair, and finally rise above a wintry landscape onto the mountaintop of hope. What I disliked about the game was it’s stark simplicity. The interactions with other players, while nice, especially in the dark depths, were pointless. Beyond the amazing stylized graphics and tight game play, the narrative journey of Journey fell short to me. If Journey was a movie, I’d be asking for my $15 back.

The Walking Dead: Episodes 1 and 2 Impressions

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Last night my wife left me. Well she left me to go to a bachelorette party, I should say. Soon after my son went to bed, I loaded up Telltale Games The Walking Dead: Episode 1 on the PS3. Thinking my wife would be gone for a few hours, I thought that I could at least finish up Episode One – A New Day (I had played for at least an hour a week ago). Little did I know that I would spend the next three hours deeply engrossed in a zombie-filled horror.

I want to say something upfront about this series. Unlike most M-rated games, The Walking Dead earns its rating almost immediately. Beyond the bloody and sometimes lingering gore-filled camera shots, the explicit language used in the game is intense. I don’t think I’ve ever played a video game that uses the f-word with such frequency as The Walking Dead does. This is about as far from the Mario universe as you can possibly get. Just a word of warning.

Living in the chaos of a decimating virus outbreak is not dream of mine. Personal survival quickly becomes the rule of the day; personal survival at the cost of others lives. The Walking Dead: Episode 1 opens with a man named Lee being transported in the back of a police cruiser. Whether he is guilty of whatever it is he has done, the game leaves that up to your imagination. All you know is that something is going horribly wrong in the City of Atlanta. A zombie, standing in the middle of the highway, leads to the police cruiser crashing. The story of Lee’s survival has just begun.

What makes The Walking Dead so compelling is its storyline. The game makes you actually care about different characters. Soon after the car accident, Lee meets up with a little girl named Clementine. This is where the game sucked me in. Lee suddenly has someone that is watching his every move, an innocent. Knowing Clementine is watching me, Lee, makes me make decisions differently. I want to shield her from the carnage. After playing Episode 2 – Starved For Help, I’ve learned that shielding her is often impossible. There is evil in this world, evil that knows no bounds.

I haven’t been this captivated by a game in a long time. The characters, voice acting, and storyline all come together to create a group of people I care about. Deaths come about as shocking. Choices I’ve made I’ve later regretted and have reaped the consequences of. The Walking Dead represents interactive drama at its best. I just wish they’d tone down the language.

Darksiders Revisited

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I have been receiving a lot of web traffic (at least for JBG) over my Darksiders review lately. So, I thought I’d re-post it. Also, I’ve been thinking about how Christians review/ talk about things in light of Romans 14. Expect a post on Christians and Game Reviews soon. – Bryan

Press Start:
War, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, has been accused of somehow beginning the end of the world early. Stripped of his powers as punishment, War must traverse what is left of the Kingdom of Men in order to seek out and eliminate The Destroyer.
Ideology/ Worldview:
Darksiders envelopes itself in a world of distorted Biblical allusions. No where is God mentioned, even though the entire story is loosely based on the book of Revelation. Instead of God ruling supreme in the game’s world, the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse act as some sort of cosmic referees between the forces of Heaven and Hell. Which come to think of it, this game also exhibits a mixture of Eastern mysticism with focus on balance, and yin and yang. Also present are altars which require blood offerings.
Interaction/Gameplay:
Slaughter monsters and collect their souls to feed to demons. Beyond that, lots of flashy swordplay which evokes games such as God of War or Devil May Cry.
In the End:
As a Christian, I feel personally convicted over playing this game. The flippancy with which demons are interacted with and treated (as if it were a normal thing to interact with demonic creatures) sickens me. I also dislike having to feed “souls” to demons in an effort to buy them off/ obtain information. Darksiders is a dark game – surprise! – based on a pseudo spiritual mythology. While I am willing to overlook certain aspects due to their fictional nature, I am unwilling to treat Hell and demons with such a non-serious attitude. I really wanted to like this game (graphics and gameplay are fun) but in the end find that I cannot recommend it for myself or others.
Due to Darksiders intense spiritual nature, avoid at all costs!

– Level of Impact Rating –
Medium: Casual play. Does not require large chunks of time.

Uncharted: Disconnected Violence

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In adventuring through the jungles, deserts, and valleys of the Uncharted series, one quickly  starts to realize that there is a disconnect between the series overall violence and protagonist Nathan Drake. Throughout the trilogy, Drake is portrayed as an easy going adventurer/ tomb raider. As the body count piles on, as you game on, clearing out a room full of “bad guys” becomes mechanical. The violent gun-play seems to unintentionally turn Nathan Drake into a man lusting for blood.

When I first started playing video games, the games themselves were all about getting from one side of the screen to the other. Rescuing princesses and blowing up aliens provided simple contexts in which the gameplay was wrapped around. There was no need to question the morality of the main character due the medium’s simplistic level. Link’s motivations were always to vanquish evil and rescue Zelda; Sonic’s hurricane force used to free furry creatures and stop Dr. Robotnik. As I’ve grown older and the world more complex, video games have followed suit. The simple plumber saves princess storylines have morphed into grand space operas such as the Mass Effect series. Morality and character motivations have suddenly come to the forefront. Welcome to the modern era of video games.

I‘ve realized that I enjoy video games for their stories. I consume a good video game story like I consume the latest literary work. I want to immerse myself  in another world and escape, in a healthy way, for a little while.

The Uncharted violence disconnect is like a nagging fly. Nathan Drake carries out violent actions because the rules his world runs on demands it. Does that make his bloodless escapades right? Shouldn’t gameplay and storyline go hand in hand?

What do you think? Comment away!


Mass Effect 2

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Press Start:

In Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepherd is tasked with recruiting the ultimate team in an effort to battle the Collectors. Most of the game is spent:

  • Exploring the galaxies/ collecting resources
  • Completing the individual story lines for each team member acquired
  • Shooting lots and lots of bullets
  • Listening to Grunt repeat his battle cry, “I AM KROGAN!”

Throughout the game, Shepherd must make choices that impact both immediate and future situations. Your actions, his actions, can often mean the difference between life and death.

I had a total love/hate relationship with Miranda. Ultimately, my choices doomed her to die.

Ideology/ Worldview:

As I mentioned above, Mass Effect 2 is all about choices. The two types of choices you are allowed to make are Paragon (good) and Renegade (evil, sly, Han Solo-ish). Depending on which route/mixture you end up choosing, the worldview of the game plays out in that manner.

Relationships, however, are a completely different matter in Mass Effect 2. Throughout the game, in-between missions, you walk the decks of your ship chatting it up with the crew. The more you pay attention to a specific crew member the more dialogue options open up during your conversations. Eventually, with enough flirting, this will lead to a romantic rendezvous in  Commander Shepherd’s quarters. Relationships are cheap in Mass Effect 2. If you don’t like the current person you are sleeping with, you can go off and pursue another. I would like to note that I did not, as much as I wanted to, bring a relationship to fruition in the game. There are places, as a Christian, I just don’t need to tread. Plus, you don’t need to pursue romantic relationships in the game in order to complete it (though there is an achievement for bedding someone down).

As a side note, Mass Effect 2 portrays women in an interesting light. The only times, that I can remember, the f-word being used in the game was by a female. I’m not sure what grand statement the game was trying to make in this regard, if any. I came away from it with the knowledge that the more wild women in this universe have potty mouths.

This is Mordin. Mordin talks like the coroner on the new Hawaii Five-O. Love this guy!

Interaction/ Gameplay:

Watch a cinema. Talk to the crew. Shoot a ton of people. Repeat.

In the End:

I played Mass Effect 2 for over 28 hours. I haven’t done this with a game in quite sometime. There was something about the storyline, role playing, and shooter elements that just seemed to gel with me. Would I recommend this series to someone else? Yes. Yes, with the caveat that the player in question is old enough to play a game that is rated M for mature. For all the games cons (minor language, romantic sidequests), there are endless galaxies to explore. I rarely wish that a game would just go on, but Mass Effect 2 is certainly one of those experiences.

An amazing experience!

– Level of Impact Rating –

Medium: Mission structure allows you to complete a mission in a short amount of time.

2011 Reflections: Part 2

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Gaming-wise, 2011 was a high mark for me as a gamer. I completed more games last year than I ever have in my gaming career. Part of this has to do with how much I enjoy gaming on the PS3; the other part being how short games are becoming. In 2011, I completed:

  • Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Which was excellent.
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Which was even better.
  • Call of Duty Black Ops – A massive disappointment due to boring set pieces and a ho-hum story line.
  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 – One of the greatest games I’ve ever played. A roller-coaster screaming to be ridden at least once. I wrote a few words about the game’s “No Russian” mission you can read here.

I also played a few other games last year:

  • Enslaved – Repetitive level design bored me.
  • Mario Galaxy 2 – Still working through it.
  • Final Fantasy 13 – Gave up on it due to a hard to follow story line.
  • Dragon Age Origins – Nothing fresh to see here.
  • Tiny Tower – You can a few words about it here.
  • L.A. Noire – I have a love/ hate relationship with L.A. Noire. The game is amazing in what it does but becomes highly repetitive over time. I came within 4 cases of finishing this game. 4 cases! I will no doubt pick this up again when I have the time and drive to plow through to the end. I did learn a few lessons from L.A. Noire which you can read about here.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum – I’m truthfully not sure what I think about this game. It did make me question what I play in front of my 2 year old, which you can read about here.
  • inFamous – Cool game with a great concept. Somehow not compelling enough for me to finish.

I‘m sure there were more games that I played but I can’t think of them right now. What did gaming in 2011 look like for you?

Lunch Time Detective: Part 2

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I got into a fist fight over lunch…

So there I was, accusing a man of murdering his wife, when suddenly he takes a knock-out swing at my partner. Officer down! Suddenly, I am up to bat and I can’t remember which buttons to push to throw a punch. Frantically, I button mash, trying to defend my character. Nothing. My heart is pumping and the screen is slowly turning gray as my character is being used as a virtual punching bag. I’m dead.

I played through the above scenario at least 3-4 times before I miraculously figured out how to throw a punch. With the perp handcuffed and snuggled in nicely in the paddy-wagon, my partner and I proceeded downtown for what was sure to be an intense interrogation.